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.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit to submit your report.

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.

Open book floating in stacks

Florence Williams—Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey

When Florence Williams’ husband left her after 25 years of marriage, she felt bereft, lost 20 lbs., and had trouble sleeping. “People who have suffered lost love face an elevated risk of serious medical woes, including sudden heart attacks,” she reports. In Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, Williams explores heartbreak’s impact on mind and body and tactics that helped her recover.

BIrd's nest on library shelf

Rebecca E. Hirsch—Where Have All the Birds Gone? Nature in Crisis

Birds don’t see glass; some crash into skyscrapers and die. Free-ranging cats find birds easy prey. Pesticides harm insects essential to birds’ diets. In Where Have All the Birds Gone: Nature in Crisis, Rebecca Hirsch describes bird-friendly building and lighting tactics adopted by some cities, wetlands restoration, endangered species laws, and other efforts to save dwindling bird populations.

Children's library

Liz Heinecke—The Kitchen Pantry Scientist: Physics for Kids

Balancing two intertwined forks on a toothpick resting on the edge of a glass helps kids understand Isaac Newton’s concept of gravity. Homemade slime helps illustrate Lise Meitner’s recognition of nuclear fission. In The Kitchen Pantry Scientist: Physics for Kids, Liz Heinecke introduces young readers to 25 physicists & provides photo-illustrated guides to home experiments based on their work.

Library stacks with ladder

Sara Hendren—What Can a Body Do? How We Meet the Built World

A prosthesis for a one-armed rock-climber, a ramp enabling wheelchair-dancers to reach a stage, a portable lectern for a short-statured speaker: Sara Hendren and her engineering students designed these assistive tools. Hendren’s book, What Can a Body Do? How We Meet the Built World, tells why homes and public spaces need to be accessible to all. It earned a NASW 2021 Science and Society award.

Wynne Brown—The Forgotten Botanist: Sara Plummer Lemmon's Life of Science and Art

For many Tucson visitors, a trek up the 9,157-foot Mount Lemmon is the trip’s literal high point. In 1881, botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon, for whom the peak is named, became the first white woman known to reach its top. She collected, identified, preserved, and painted 100s of new Southwest plant species, Wynne Brown reports in The Forgotten Botanist: Sara Plummer Lemmon's Life of Science and Art.

Chris Hoofnagle and Simson Garfinkel—Law and Policy for the Quantum Age

“We are at the cusp of a quantum technology revolution, one where technologists master the special physics of the smallest particles,” Chris Hoofnagle and NASW member Simson Garfinkel write in Law and Policy for the Quantum Age. They explain how quantum technologies work, explore potential benefits and challenges for nations and individuals, and urge making public policy decisions now.

Sarah Scoles—Astronomical Mindfulness: Your Cosmic Guide to Reconnecting with the Sun, Moon, Stars and Planets

“Looking at the night sky brings you into the here and now,” Christopher De Pree and NASW member Sarah Scoles assert. In Astronomical Mindfulness: Your Cosmic Guide to Reconnecting with the Sun, Moon, Stars and Planets, they provide a scientific and cultural history of human assessment and use of the world above us plus guided exercises to boost your perception and well-being. Just look up!

Emily Willingham—The Tailored Brain: From Ketamine, to Keto, to Companionship, A User's Guide to Feeling Better and Thinking Smarter

How can you best improve your cognition, creativity, attention, memory, and mood? Don’t rely on weird diets, drugs, or listening to Mozart, Emily Willingham says. To boost brainpower, interact with others, seek new experiences, and get enough sleep and exercise, she asserts in The Tailored Brain: From Ketamine, to Keto, to Companionship, A User's Guide to Feeling Better and Thinking Smarter.

Matt Bille—Of Books and Beasts: A Cryptozoologist's Library

Cryptozoology has a bad rep. Wikipedia calls it a pseudoscience fixated on Bigfoot and other fantasy creatures. Think instead, Matt Bille says, of Alan Rabinowitz, Robin Baird, and others who use established zoological methods to study “hidden” animals and identify new species. In Of Books and Beasts: A Cryptozoologist's Library, he reviews 400 books exploring scientific research in the field.