On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, Samantha Moss talks about her life, and what why her experiences of chronic illness inspired her to write her new book, My Medical Musings.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Samantha Moss about her life and career, what inspired her to start writing, and the work that went into her new book, My Medical Musings.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m 56, medically retired, and live with my husband of 26 years, on the edge of the Scenic Rim, a beautiful part of Queensland Australia.
I lived life in the fast lane for 30 years enjoying a successful management career in financial services. I also enjoyed various change management consultancy roles for not-for-profit organisations throughout my working life.
I loved every minute of those able-bodied years and am very grateful for the experiences I have had.
My career highlights included:
- Contributing to creating an award-winning customer experience culture in the various Banking and Insurance departments I’ve managed.
- Leading an inspired and motivated team of people, many of whom are now lifelong friends.
- Receiving the inaugural Leader of the Year Award just before I medically retired (such a special parting gift).
- Restoring a historic church building to its former glory.
- Appointed as a management consultant in the Anglican Church, and assisted Senior Church Leaders (Clergy and Lay) to bring about exciting reformative change.
Until one day everything changed when my body decided to work against me with a multitude of health issues, the most debilitating of which was an Idiopathic rare bone disease.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
Writing this book has been a long-time dream for me. I always believed one day I would write a nonfiction book. Fiction has never been my forte, although I love reading it and admire authors able to pull together a captivating plot. However, I seem to be more comfortable sharing real stories.
I did write a very short book when I was 21, which was self-published, called “God’s Ways, Not Ours”. It was commissioned by my church, as I’d been administering the restoration of a beautiful historic church building to its original glory. The book told the restoration story and documented the history of the church.
It was at least a start in my non-fiction literary career!
I never expected to write about myself though. I couldn’t imagine there would ever be much to write about where I was concerned.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I started my blog in 2015. I was looking for a new purpose following medically retiring the year before. My body was failing but my brain was still buzzing. It also became a great pain management distraction. The pain is never gone but writing focuses my brain on something I’m passionate about and it’s amazing.
Blogging has become my work, my new career. It’s a place to record “My Medical Musings” and share with others the coping mechanisms I have discovered through my journey.
My focus is not on my story as such. My story simply allows me to provide a platform to connect with others, who are looking for ways to effectively live with their health challenges.
The blogging world is a writing community and it’s wonderful to be a part of it, especially the chronic illness bloggers community.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I had been blogging for 6 years when I decided it was time to get serious about writing a book. Having over 240 blog posts made me realise I had in many regards already written a book.
All I needed to do was decide how to present my story and which blog posts effectively did that.
I started writing the book in March 2021 and the manuscript was completed within 6 weeks and submitted to my Publisher, ImagineWe Publishers.
I had some major health setbacks soon after and long hospital stays, plus my Dad passed away, so the book release was paused for a while.
Overall it’s taken a year from start to finish…..although it’s been in the making since 2015 when I first started my blog.
What made you want to write My Medical Musings?
It has been a lifelong goal to write a book. I have also founded an online global support forum called “Medical Musings With Friends”. It’s for people living with chronic illness and my members kept encouraging me to write a book every time they read one of my blog posts.
Helping others live the best life possible, despite their chronic illness or disability, is a passion and honour for me. This is the reason I have written this book. Just to help one person is amazing, to help more is an absolute honour. I want others to know they are not alone in their journey. I want them to feel they have a friend who truly understands.
What were your biggest challenges with writing My Medical Musings?
I’m unable to sit at my desk to use my computer to write. My pain and disability prevent me from doing this or sitting upright for more than 15 minutes.
I have taught myself to do absolutely everything on my smartphone, including writing my manuscript. This has allowed me to write no matter where I am, reclining in my lounge chair or lying on my bed resting my broken bones.
What was your research process for My Medical Musings?
This book is my memoir so thankfully I was my research source. I made sure I researched Medical terms and diagnoses etc. I generally use reputable online sites like the Mayo Clinic, National Organisation of Rare Diseases (NORD), Research papers from the National Library of Medicine (NIH)
How did you plan the structure of My Medical Musings?
The chapters are designed to read randomly or in order, entirely up to you. I’m acutely aware of how difficult reading can be when struggling with so many chronic illness symptoms. I really hope I’ve managed to make this book one you can pick up, choose favourite chapters and keep going back to those when you need a friend to encourage and support you.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did My Medical Musings need?
My Publisher provided an excellent editor. Thankfully not much needed changing at all and I was also fully involved in the editing process which made the whole experience seamless and kept my writing voice authentic. This resulted in me doing a few rewrites on some chapters as I reread them.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Just start writing. Even if it’s in a private journal or, if you’re feeling brave, start a public blog to test your writing style and the reactions from readers. Enjoy the process. Create a writing nook where you feel free to be you and express yourself.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
My story is far from over. A lot has happened in my health journey since this book so there could very well be a “Part Two” in the wings.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
To be honest it feels incredibly surreal. A dream come true and I am pinching myself to check I’m awake!
Yes, it was completely worth the effort.
Pop all your book, website, and social media links here so the readers can find you:
I have a blog, podcast, online support forum, and FB page and you can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin.
Here are my links:
Blog: My Medical Musings
Podcast: Medical Musings with Sam
FB Page: My Medical Musings https://www.facebook.com/mymedmusings
FB Group: Medical Musings with Friends
Twitter: Medical Musings with Friends
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