Thursday, April 7, 2011

Meet author Jacquie Lewis-Kemp (Blessed Assurance: Success Despite the Odds)

Meet author Jacquie Lewis-Kemp
Jacquie Lewis-Kemp, author of soon to be released Blessed Assurance: Success Despite the Odds, tells the story of her unlikely life highlighting three main themes—juvenile diabetes, a young, African American female CEO of an automotive manufacturing company, kidney failure and organ transplants. Jacquie educates others how to incorporate the tedious regimen of chronic illness into a busy life rather than limit life because of chronic illness.
--- Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I have always loved to write. My earliest memory of enjoying to write was at 10 years old when my ballet teacher assigned us the task of choreographing a dance and writing an essay describing it. From that point on, I’ve always found it a joy to express myself in writing. I’ve had articles published throughout high school and college and wrote therapeutically after the birth of my son. Whenever I am spiritually and emotionally moved to write, I write. Things that drive me to write include injustice, to inform, and when I recognize God’s work, as in Blessed Assurance.

Ella:  A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
My writing offers a legacy to remain focused on living life while managing a chronic illness such as diabetes and/or kidney disease, rather than allowing the illness to become our lives. So often when people are faced with a chronic illness, it becomes the center and focus of their lives. “No, I can’t go there because they’ll be serving foods that I can’t eat” or “No I can’t do that because I have to test my blood sugar/monitor my blood pressure/do dialysis at that time”. The legacy I hope to pass on is that we no longer have to stop living in order to manage diabetes or kidney disease.

Ella:   Where are you from? What is your favorite genre? How did you start your writing journey?
I am from Michigan and currently live in Bloomfield Hills, MI. My favorite genre is non-fiction, because real stories inspire me. I began writing this book because a friend and business mentor suggested that I write down the stories if for no other reason for my son to read.

Ella:  Give us the synopsis of the book being discussed.

Blessed Assurance: Success Despite the Odds is author Jacquie Lewis-Kemp's story that tells of the ups and downs for a juvenile diabetic at different ages. It details struggles of long term complications of retinopathy (bleeding blood vessels in the retina) and kidney failure. Behind every valley is a mountaintop, and so her kidney failure was followed by a heroic kidney transplant from her brother. And as if that wasn't blessing enough, eighteen months later she received a follow on pancreas transplant, ending 33 years of insulin dependence and best preserving her new kidney.

All was not stable however, four short months after the pancreas transplant, her immunosuppression made her vulnerable to the West Nile virus. The moving story of her spiritual journey during the month long hospital stay and months of recovery is the major reason for writing the book.

The medical story of managing juvenile diabetes, its complications and organ donation is a fascinating one by itself, however if necessity is the mother of invention, then doubt and skepticism must be the catalyst for success. Jacquie believes that juvenile diabetes creates an insatiable desire to succeed. The requirement to control blood sugars within a tight range creates a college student with good time management skills who double majors and completes a master’s degree all within five years. That same Spirit also assures a young African American woman working for her father’s manufacturing plant that she can step into his shoes as CEO after his sudden death and she is just 31 years old. He even tells her that with proper management she can give birth to a blood-sugar-normal baby. She can do all those things through Christ who strengthens her, hence Blessed Assurance: Success Despite the Odds.

Ella:  Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
The main characters are me and my family. Being able to stand back and see God’s timing and how he ordered my steps is phenomenal.

Ella:  How does this book shape or add value to the reader's life?
I hope that this book will be a companion, an example of how to manage diabetes and it’s complications for anyone affected by diabetes (the diabetic, family, friends, colleagues, bosses . . .) and organ transplant.

Ella:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want people to realize that a diagnosis of diabetes or kidney disease doesn’t mean life is over. That with planning and discipline, life can be just as wonderful as it was, if not more wonderful.

Ella:  Who would this book really "speak to" and why?
This book speaks to anyone affected by diabetes, or its complications, specifically retinopathy and kidney disease; those affected by kidney failure and organ transplant. I hope that this book can be used by physicians to recommend to their patients as a guide on how to live with diabetes and how to survive kidney failure and transplant.

Ella:  What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
Completing the book, finding a publisher and receiving positive responses from people exposed to the advanced marketing of it.

Ella:   What advice would you give a new writer?
Write about what you are passionate about. Write and write without ceasing. When you can’t think of anything else to write about, look at it and make structural sense of it.

Ella:   Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
1. Write about something people want to read about.
2. Write in a style that will hold the reader’s attention.
3. Write humbly.

Ella:  What book already published is similar to your book in its writing style?
The Last Lecture

Ella:   What can we expect from you in the future?
I would like to continue writing about diabetes and organ donation and transplant. I have considered writing books for different ages—children, young adults, etc.

Ella:   Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I volunteer at the University of Michigan Transplant Center, The National Kidney Foundation, MOTEP (Minority Organ and Tissue Education Program), and Gift of Life. I was honored in the 2009 publication of Who’s Who in Black Detroit.

Ella:  Contact Jacquie Lewis-Kemp, Author for speaking engagements.
An executive wife and mother’s inspirational story of multitasking work, diabetes, and organ transplant and how God prepares, protects and enables us to succeed despite the odds.

Book:  Blessed Assurance: Success Despite the Odds

My Blog Site:  and  My Email:  

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