Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Matt Patterson, My Emily, plus #giveaway

AUTHOR:                Matt Patterson
BOOK TITLE:        My Emily
PUBLISHER:          Self-Published (Createspace)

GIVEAWAY?  If in US – a person’s choice of paperback or Kindle.  Overseas – a Kindle download. - Be sure to leave contact information to be considered in the drawing.

Tell me a little about your book and give a short synopsis. 

My Emily is the story of a hurting family, an amazing little girl and a mysteriously faithful God.

Emily wasn't born perfect - so one might think.  She was born with Down Syndrome and many would jump to the conclusion that she would have very little hope for a life with any significance. Two years later came the diagnosis of leukemia. What little hope remaining turned to no hope whatsoever - or so one might think.

The life of this little girl, with all its perceived imperfections, had great meaning. Her loving nature and courage touched the hearts of everyone she met. She also taught them how to value their own lives - even with their many "imperfections."

 What gave you the idea for this particular book? 

The idea for My Emily, simply put, came from a newspaper column I wrote 20 years prior. It was an opportunity for me to not only share Emily’s story to help others, but it was also a moment for me to heal spiritually and emotionally.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? 

I am a full-time writer and speaker – a one man operation. I’m the writer, the agent, publicist, administrative assistant, accountant and janitor. That last one was supposed to be funny.  I’m still attempting to organize my writing time! That was supposed to be funny, too. As I build a speaking platform and travel more, I do admit it is more difficult to set specific writing time. It continues to be a work in progress.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? 

I first felt like I truly enjoyed writing was when I began weekly columns for a daily newspaper in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I normally covered the courts and crime beat, but for one day, I could write about anything and everything I wanted.  And at that time, my little girls were my best copy.  I made it a point to write something light and humorous to let readers know that the writer who covered the courts was a real person – that he was perhaps sensitive and had a sense of humor.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?  

I’ve always believed that each of us have a story – a special story to share. One that may involve tragedy or heartbreak. One that can reach out and help others.  I pray for those readers, who have these stories, that they share their legacies to help us in our healing.

What types of writing do you prefer, and why?  

I love to read biographies and memoirs. I feel I’m at my best when I’m writing in a first-person format. I write as I speak. Just as if we’re sitting down and having a conversation over some hot chocolate. I want my “voice” to be just that – my “voice.”

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?  

For me, this is an easy one! Plain and simple – for me, the toughest part about being a writer is avoiding distractions and procrastination. I would have to say jokingly, do we as writers ever get past these two? Being a former journalist, I operate very well under a deadline. If I set deadlines, then I respond as if it needs to go to press not today – but yesterday!

What draws you to non-fiction writing? 

I would have to answer that by saying it’s not “what” draws me to non-fiction writing but “who” draws me to non-fiction writing. My favorite writer is Mitch Albom – author of Tuesdays With Morrie, Have a Little Faith among many other best-sellers. His style of writing not only can make you laugh, but he can make you cry and when you finish that last page of  one of his books,  you walk away inspired. THAT is what draws me to non-fiction writing and it’s my hope I can do the same for my readers.

What kind of research did you do for this type of book?  

Not much, if any. I truly wrote My Emily from my memory. Stories – humorous or heartbreaking – were pulled from memories etched in my mind and my heart. I wrote this book as I spoke it aloud, as if I was telling this story to a dear friend.

What about your book makes it special?  

This is a difficult question to answer, but if I had to say one thing, it would be that my book is “personal.”  It is truly personal.  It is the story of one of the most beautiful and yet, most tragic experiences of my life. It is my attempt to share my daughter – to share her courage and legacy with the world. At the end of the day, it’s my hope and prayer that this personal story reaches out to others – especially those who have or are currently engaged in a journey similar to ours.

Where can people learn more about you and your work? 

They are more than welcome to learn more about My Emily at www.my-emily.com or if they want to learn more about me, they can hop on over to www.mattpatterson.me. I welcome any and all readers to find me or My Emily on facebook at Matt Patterson, Author or My Emily.  And for Twitter enthusiasts – they can track me and My Emily down at @myemily_thebook and @MattPatt_Intl.

What are your views on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?  

I believe the response to this question is different for each and every author. There are advantages for both choices. Personally, I am a very strong advocate for self-publishing.  I like having the final say on content, cover and marketing plans. I have a very strong background in marketing communications and journalism, as well as public and media relations. I believe advances in technology will continue to make it possible for any author to be successful.

Do you have an agent and do you feel an agent is necessary for non-fiction?  

I do not have an agent at the moment.  I have been contacted by a couple of agents, but at this particular moment, I don’t feel that I personally need an agent.  I am always willing to listen, though. Do I feel an agent is necessary for non-fiction? Each writer, each genre and each situation is different.

Any tips for new writers hoping to write non-fiction? 

Write. Write. And write some more. Then read. Read. And read some more. I am a firm believer that journaling is a great way for writers to polish their craft. No matter how long or how short an entry may be – make sure to get in that daily habit of writing. Not weekly. Not monthly. Write each and every day.  If someone wishes to become a writer – they need to treat that writing time as important, perhaps even sacred.

Excerpt – My Emily – Matt Patterson

In our conversations with Emily’s physicians, we asked for one thing and one thing only.

We asked that when it reached a point where Emily was only being “kept alive,” we wanted all the cords and lines removed from her so she could be held and comforted by her family.

I was not going to allow my daughter to die connected to a cluster of plastic lines, noisy pumps and machines. She would be held by those who loved her most.

When we first brought Emily home as a newborn, I eagerly rocked her to sleep each and every night in an oak rocking chair. It was our special time together. I longed for it. It was my escape from a cruel world.  This time together would allow me to forget all that was bad in the world and to hold on to all that was pure and good. It was something we both looked forward to.

This night would be no exception.

Nurses graciously found a rocking chair for us. As difficult as it was, I finally came to the realization that I would be rocking Emily to sleep one final night.

After all the lines and tubes were removed, curtains would be drawn and doors closed.

First, Bonnie held Emily so very tight, kissing her and telling her through her tears that she loved her and it was ok for her to go home to her Father. She said good-bye and handed her to me.

For one last time, I took Emily in my arms and pulled her ever-so-close. Rocking slowly, I whispered to her that I loved her so very much and wanted her to know how proud I was of her for her courage and example. I kissed her dry lips and chubby, little cheek. Just seconds later, she threw her body back and took a very deep breath.

Her last breath.

At 12:54 a.m., our em&em’s was gone.

As we exited our ICU room, we saw three of Emily’s physicians at the nurse’s station – arms folded, their heads down.



Through this whole experience, I learned firsthand that it takes an exceptionally special person to work in pediatric oncology.

Like clockwork, Emily’s physician would peek into her room first thing in the morning and although his uniform was crisply pressed and he was fresh from a morning shower, he looked tired and overwhelmed. To him, it didn’t matter what the challenges were – he never stopped caring.  He treated Emily as if she was his very own daughter.

Nurses from the pediatric unit would actually come down to Emily’s ICU room, after having just finished their 12-hour shifts to help care for her on their own time.

We finished our six-month war with leukemia, but these amazing people continue to fight this fight every single day. They wake up and celebrate the victories, as well as absorb the defeats.

      Word spread quickly throughout the hospital of Emily’s passing.  Shortly thereafter, a line formed downstairs in the ICU – nurses, physicians, technicians, clerks – all coming to say goodbye to not only their patient, but their close friend.  Maybe even their sister of sorts.


  1. Thanks so very, very much for hosting me Penny!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful wonderful story. Thanks, guys, for sharing.