Q: Can you tell us about the book and how it came about?
Pam: The book is called Getting to the Heart of the Matter. It is autobiographical and describes my journey from being well, through to an unexpected health condition, undergoing major surgery, and educating myself around medications, emotional wellness, self-care, exercise and healthy eating.
In February 2018 I became unwell quite unexpectedly, and on Waitangi Day was taken into hospital for an ECG which showed there was a heart problem. After undergoing an angiogram I was told that I had a congenital heart problem and the only solution was to undergo a triple heart by pass operation. Being a very active person, I was driving my husband round the bend as I was so bored so he said “why don’t you write about your experience as therapy” and that is exactly what I did and it kept me busy throughout my recuperation.
The book also looks at my husband’s experience of events and gives insight to those who may be supporting someone going through a similar health trauma.
The book is laid out with the experience first and then goes onto the medications involved with all heart surgery.
The next part of the book gives good information around the right foods to eat and drinks to maintain good health and finally I created a meal plan for the week based on what I would have normally eaten, but I have now created a healthy option ensuring that cholesterol in recipes is low as is saturated fat and sodium intake. I have personally tried all the recipes and lost a few kilos in the process.
Q: How long did it take you to write Getting to the Heart of the Matter?
Pam: I started to write the book about a week after I was allowed home from hospital and including the time to take the pictures for the recipes in the book it took about 3-4 months in total.
Q: Can you share the process you had to go through to get this book published?
I researched publishers who specialised in Healthcare and Education and then looked online as to the format I would have to create my work in and most publishers I contacted informed me of the correct format that the book had to be written in, font, spacing, pages, chapters etc. Sadly I didn’t manage to get a New Zealand publisher to take it up, but due to the huge health issues related to heart disease in USA they accepted my book first time. I had to read through a contract which laid out the terms and conditions of Austin Macauley, the publisher, and upon returning the contract they had just under 1 year to produce the book in agreement with me, this included them asking me about any changes made.
Q: What is the most important lesson you learned while writing this book?
The most important lesson in producing the book was that I learnt you cannot just use royalty free pictures and therefore I had to go through every picture I had put into the book and take these out and create my own. I also learnt that legislation is different in other countries so this also affected what I could and couldn’t put in the book. Ultimately, I learnt that if you create something from ‘the Heart’ it is real and has authenticity and therefore hasn’t had to be changed very much. I always dreamt of writing a book and so another important lesson is to follow your dreams and pursue what you want, it really can happen!
Q: When can we buy a copy?
The book is being published on the 29th June 2019 and will be available in local bookshops, Whitcoulls and Paper Plus. It will also be available online.
Q: Do you have plans to write another book?
I already have 2 other books being written, both quite different… The first book is a thriller, crime fiction based on my love of Fiji and inspired by my travel and experience of the beautiful Fijian beaches.
The next book looks at Aspergers partners living with Neurotypical partners and provides insight into the challenges, and getting through issues and problems and understanding each other.
Further to this I am also producing a blog/vlog called ‘Pam’s pantry’ which will be produced to demonstrate and help those living with heart problems how easy it is to change habits and create healthy easy quick meals.