Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased
to have as our guest Martine Ehrenclou, MA, author of Critical
Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide to Get Your Loved One Out
Alive. Martine is a writer and patient advocate. She has
had several of her articles on hospital patient safety published in
national magazines and newspapers and has been interviewed on
numerous nationally syndicated radio shows. She currently lectures on
the topic of "How to Survive a Hospital Stay" at
universities, organizations, hospitals and bookstores. Martine has
also had stories published in bestselling books, has written for
newspapers and magazines, and with past businesses has appeared on
national TV talk and news shows (ABC World News Tonight, Phil
Donahue, Jenny Jones and more) in national magazines (Time, Inc., The
Economist, and more) and in national newspapers (Los Angeles Times,
Washington Post and more.)
Martine received her masters
degree with honors in psychology from Pepperdine University, Los
Angeles. She currently runs writing groups for at-risk teenagers and
adults and publishes literary magazines of her students' work.
She lives in Los Angeles, CA, with her husband and their
Good day Martine and thanks for participating
in our interview.
you briefly tell our readers something about Critical
Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide to Get Your Loved One Out
book is about how to be a proactive advocate for a hospitalized loved
one in effort to prevent deadly medical errors, medication mistakes,
the spread of hospital-acquired infectious diseases, potentially
fatal falls and more. It gives effective tips on how to reach the
doctors when you really need them---every time, how to navigate the
hospital with confidence, what to do if you live out of town, how to
interact with the patient's primary nurses and physicians. I believe
that a hospitalized patient cannot advocate for themselves because
they are ill, medicated and recovering. In collaboration with the
patient (if possible) a loved one needs to do this for him or her.
The book teaches you how.
motivated you to write the book and how did you decide you were ready
to write the book? Why do you think this is an important book at this
initially motivated me to write the book was my mother's 5 month
hospitalization and my godmother's repeated hospitalizations in
different hospitals and then an eventual 7 month stay. With all that
I witnessed—medical errors, medication mistakes, misdiagnoses,
neglect, and my own confusion and overwhelm in the hospitals, I
wondered if my experiences were common. I interviewed 50 family
members. Their experiences were all the same—not the extended
hospital stays for their loved ones, but the bewilderment in the
hospital—it's such a foreign world to most people, and the
desperation on the part of families about medical errors and what had
happened to their loved ones. I decided something had to be done. I
had a gut feeling that if I interviewed enough registered nurses who
worked in hospitals and physicians that I could provide a manual for
people to help them when a loved one was admitted into the
I did a lot of research and found several
major studies on preventable medical errors that resulted in patient
deaths. I discovered that hospital patient care was in serious
trouble. As I was finishing up the book, the Dennis Quaid incident
with his twins occurred.
was the most difficult part of writing your book?
I interviewed families, it was fairly close to the death of my mom
and godmother. Hearing their stories brought up their suffering, what
they'd lived through and their agonizing experiences with hospital
stays. It was painful. So I took a break from the book for a while.
Once I got some distance from it, I got back at it and actually found
a sense of hope and empowerment once I started interviewing nurses
and physicians. Most of them were so excited about my book that my
excitement grew and grew.
one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your
heard the family members' stories and had talked to a number of
people about their loved ones' hospitalizations. We were all on the
inside so to speak. I was surprised by the nurses' faith in what I
was doing, their excitement over it, and their eagerness for it to
get published. They all wanted copies. Looking back, I suspect they
were so hungry for information that would educate family members and
good friends to help bridge the gap between hospital staff and
patients' loved ones. I was surprised to find out that the medical
professionals and I were all the same side.
will you be doing for promotion and how much of it is your
you know, promotion is key to a book's success. It's funny, once the
book was done, some said, "well now you can relax." Relax?
Once the book is done is when the hard work begins! I began by doing
free mini-lectures and book signings. Then I put on lectures at all
sorts of organizations, entered the book into book award
competitions, sent the book out for review, wrote articles for
newspapers and magazines, sent out press releases with tips, entered
the book in exhibits and shows, started doing library mailings with
color flyers, did some small advertising, put together a monthly
e-newsletter with free information. I started doing radio interviews
and connected with the national sales manager at my distributor. I
put together press kits which were self-mailers for his sales
I've done most of the promotion myself. I hired a
PR company to help me with the big magazines that I didn't have
you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch
it to an agent, or query publishers who would most likely publish
this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish?
originally pitched to two publishers who specialized in
nonfiction/health books. I also pitched to two agents. Got rejections
from all four—all of them said that it was a great idea but that
this kind of book was typically not a good seller. Since I have a
marketing and PR background, I knew I would be doing my own promotion
anyway so I decided to form my own publishing company and hired a
publishing consultant to teach me the ropes. I then began created a
promotion plan, planned for the next book, and planned to start
publishing other author's self-help/health titles.
can our readers find out more about your and your book?
website is one of the best places.
next for Martine Ehrenclou and is there anything else you wish to add
that we have not covered?
working on my next book, another health/self-help book on health care
outside of the hospital and then start publishing other author's
books. Lemon Grove Press doesn't stop here. With the publishing
industry in the shape it is, I suspect we'll end up publishing for
digital readers at some point.
Thanks once again and
good luck with all of your future endeavours.