Q & A
Q: How did you decide to write this book?
As an ophthalmology resident, I began to learn the remarkable stories of ophthalmology’s heroes. Their biographies had all the makings of blockbuster movies – courage, defeat, perseverance, serendipity – I couldn’t believe how few people knew about them, and I thought everyone should.
Problem was, I wasn’t sure that many general readers would be drawn to a book about medical history alone. I felt I needed to do something different, something new, to draw more readers in.
After a lot of thought, and discussion with my agent and later my editor, I decided to blend the history with my own story – to take the reader behind the mask and into the operating room – and, in a more personal way, show how these “heroes” continue to make our lives better every day.
Q: How does writing fit into your daily schedule as a surgeon?
With a busy practice and four kids at home, I simply write whenever I can. This might be during lunch at the office, between cases in the O.R., poolside during my son’s swim meets, or after the kids are put to bed. I’ve learned that writing is really re-writing, and also that it’s far easier to write about something that I’m passionate about. When I do, it’s never work.
Q: What training is needed to become a retinal surgeon?
After four years of medical school, you do a one-year internship in general medicine, then a three-year residency in ophthalmology, and then a two-year fellowship in retina surgery. All told, it’s ten years after college.
Q: How long did it take to write Saving Sight?
Writing the book took about five months. It was shopped by an agent for about a year and a half, and then I was lucky to land with Irie Books.
Q: Have you met any of the “heroes” in your book?
I did meet Dr. Arnall Patz once, briefly. I did not meet any of the others. I was fortunate to connect with some of their family members, including Nicholas Ridley (Sir Ridley’s son), Mrs. Ann Kelman, Mrs. Ellen Patz, and Mrs. Paula Folkman. These individuals provided helpful insight that supplemented my research, and communicating with them was very gratifying to me as an author and an ophthalmologist.
Q: What charities will be supported by sales of Saving Sight?
A portion of the proceeds from the book will benefit vision-related charities, including the Perkins School for the Blind and the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Museum of Vision. Proceeds will also benefit local libraries.
Q: What other books have you written?
Outside of my contributions to multiple medical textbooks, I’ve also written two historical novels: Two Sons of China and Repentance. Two Sons of China was released by Bondfire Books in December 2013. I’m currently editing Repentance and hopefully, this too will be available in the not too distant future.
If you have a question, please email me at email@AndrewLamMD.com and I’ll get back to you.