Advance Copy: Backstories on books by NASW members

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

Randy Mayfield with Beth Miller—One Life: Your Gift Will Make a Way!

NASW member Beth Miller teamed up with her lifelong friend, singer, songwriter, and pastor Randy Mayfield to produce Mayfield’s memoir, One Life: Your Gift Will Make a Way!. The book describes Mayfield’s many humanitarian missions around the world, which include providing aid for orphanages in India, food and clean water programs in Haiti, and job training programs for Kurdish refugees in Iraq.

Bijal P. Trivedi—Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever

For cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease often fatal in early decades of life, parents raised millions of dollars to support research by scientists working at the cutting edge of gene therapies. Bijal P. Trivedi ties these threads together in her riveting narrative Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever.

Christoph Droesser: When Things Talk to Us - Voice Assistants, Computers as Authors & Social Bots

“We need more detergent,” I told my husband. “I can help you with that,” my phone offered, unasked. I wasn’t aware it was eavesdropping. For the first time in history, humans can interact verbally with non-human entities, says Christoph Droesser. Are these genuine conversations? Droesser explores this question in When Things Talk to Us: Voice Assistants, Computers as Authors and Social Bots.

Lisa Selin Davis Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare To Be Different

Until the mid-20th century, boys often wore pink, & girls, blue. Mamie Eisenhower's love for pink in the 1950s reinforced its use for girls. Some girls & boys reject gender stereotypes—colors, toys, clothes, activities, & behaviors—Lisa Selin Davis reports in Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare To Be Different. They typically become well-rounded, self-confident adults.

Christopher Wanjek: Spacefarers — How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond

Imagine vacationing at a hotel in low-earth orbit, within 200 miles of the Earth’s surface—a genuine out-of-this-world experience. Though daunting challenges remain, the potential for scientific advances, mining profits, and the thrill of space tourism likely will stimulate heightened space exploration, Christopher Wanjek writes in Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond.

Emily Willingham: Phallacy — Life Lessons from the Animal Penis

The notion that the penis is the throbbing obelisk of all masculinity is a fallacy, Emily Willingham asserts in Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis. Willingham, a PhD in biological sciences who writes and teaches about how gonads and penises develop and work, provides an entertaining survey of flabby studies with a patriarchal perspective, supporting her conclusions with hard science.

Cheryl Pellerin: Healing with Cannabis

Cannabis, approved for medical use in at least 35 states, also is available without a prescription in 11 states, Washington DC, and 2 US territories. These stats suggest it’s high time for Cheryl Pellerin’s guidebook on why & how cannabis works in the body, Healing with Cannabis: The Evolution of the Endocannabinoid System and How Cannabinoids Help Relieve PTSD, Pain, MS, Anxiety, and More.

Linda Zajac: Four Unofficial Guides to Minecraft

In the twilight, your enchanted bow and boots shimmer. No need to swim across the lake. Just walk on water. Elementary school-age children who enjoy the computer game Minecraft can master this skill and more with the aid of Linda Zajac’s Unofficial Guide to Minecraft Enchantments. The book is one of four new guides to different facets of Minecraft play Zajac created in only three months.

Steve Olson: Apocalypse Factory

The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, August 9, 1945, contained nuclear material manufactured at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state. Histories of the Manhattan Project and the Cold War generally neglect Hanford, an oversight Steve Olson, who grew up in the nearby town of Othello, aims to correct in The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age.