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So You Want to Write a Book

Friday, September 21st, 2012

When I decided that my story might help other women striving to overcome their own circumstances, I worried that my expertise as a physician wouldn’t exactly translate to the process of writing a great book.  Instead of giving up right there though, I decided to look into hiring a writer to help me out.  Luckily, I found talented freelance writer and editor, Anita Bartholomew who truly is a book doctor.

After reading my first best-selling memoir, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, Anita saw potential in the next chapter of my life as a professional woman trying to balance career and family.  Her writing skill and knowledge of the changing publishing industry allowed me to get exposure to a much bigger audience than I would have been able to do on my own.  With her collaboration, my newest memoir, “SOMETHING TO PROVE” won the Grand Prize in the New York Book Festival.  On my radio show, Inside Information for Women, Anita and discussed this process and how the publishing industry is shifting in a way that actually benefits small publishers and unknown authors.

As the cost of print media slowly begins to outweigh its profits, many publishers are scaling down and moving to digital publishing.  You’ve no doubt noticed the increase in e-books and e-readers, but many are unaware how this is changing the popularity of what it is we’re reading as well.  Before, you needed a book with surefire potential for big profits or a name that already had clout in the genre in order to get the attention of publishers.  Now though, many people are partnering with smaller publishing companies or even publishing and promoting their own work through digital formats.  This has allowed new authors to sell a lot more of their work, and this time, without losing the percentage a publishing company would have taken.  It has also, surprisingly, shifted what people are reading altogether; as steamy romance titles are easily concealed on e-readers and nobody knows whether someone is reading about politics or pop stars.  These digital authors and publishers have also increased competition in the publishing world in general, driving prices down to much more easily consumed costs for their audience, which translates into more sales for more writers.

Even though it is easier to get e-published these days, you’ll still need great writing in order to sell a lot of books.  I’m thankful I found Anita so that my book could have that chance.  If you too are dying to get your story told, whether fact or fiction, you don’t have to be the next great author, you just need a great idea and a partnership with a talented freelance writer like Anita Bartholomew.


– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.


Gone almost 30 years… always in my thoughts

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Maybe it’s the holiday season that just naturally brings back memories of those we love. Or maybe it’s because my father, Donald Thornton, is never far from my mind. But even something as seemingly innocuous as doing some upgrades in our home stirred vivid memories of Daddy, who readers will remember from my memoirs, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, and Something to Prove.

My husband Shearwood and I were talking to our security firm about improving our home security system. And it brought me back to the day that my father and mother accompanied me to Bard Hall, where I was to room, when I first entered Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

I would be living away from home for the first time, and in big, bad New York City, no less. My parents had already helped me settle in and, reluctantly left me in my new room. I assumed they were on their way home. Then Daddy came back to the room, carrying a heavy glass ashtray. After giving me yet another talk about how important it was for a young woman to be careful and vigilant, he handed me the ashtray, which was odd, because I didn’t smoke.

The ashtray was for security purposes, he said. He instructed me to place it above my door, so if any one tried to come in, it would fall and alert me and I could defend myself—or just run.

I thanked him, and promised I’d be careful, but I never did use his makeshift security system. I knew perfectly well that the first time I rushed out the door, I’d be the one to get bonked on the head.

But, just knowing that my Daddy would always look out for me (and yes, I believe he still does, though he’s been gone since 1983), made me feel safer.

And I still have that ashtray.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Something To Prove Wins Top Prize from New York Book Festival!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

I’m thrilled to report that Something to Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill a Father’s Legacy earned the Grand Prize from the judges in “The New York Book Festival,” besting hundreds of rivals in every category for the title.

Although I wish I could be at the ceremony on June 10, 2011, at the Algonquin Hotel, to accept the award, I have a previous commitment. I will be the lead panelist at the “100 Black Men of America Annual Convention,” in San Francisco that day.

My fellow panelists include Terri McMillan, bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and several other books, radio talk show host Shirley Strawberry, and TV personality Star Jones, best-known for her long-running stint on the popular talk show, “The View.”

Although I won’t be there to accept the New York Book Festival Award in person, you can bet I’ll be there in spirit. I am so honored to have been chosen to receive this recognition, and so very, very grateful to the judges who chose Something to Prove over so many other terrific books.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Hear (and See) My Radio Interview with Leonard Lopate of WNYC

Friday, January 7th, 2011

I had a great time visiting with Leonard Lopate of WNYC Radio, and talking about my new memoir, Something To Prove.

We spoke of my father, Donald Thornton, how our girl band, The Thornton Sisters came into being, and how sexism has often been a greater impediment than racism in my career.

The interview was videotaped and posted to YouTube, so here it is.

Let me know what you think.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Win a copy of “Something To Prove,” the sequel to “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters”

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Want to win a copy of my new memoir, Something To Prove? If you have a blog, you can enter a contest to win one of two free copies. See the details for the contest, here.

You only have until January 13th to enter, so please get started now.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Dr. Yvonne Thornton Discusses “Something To Prove” on Nurse Talk Radio Show

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

The week before Christmas, I was a guest of co-hosts (and registered nurses) Casey Hobbs and Dan Grady on the award-winning “Nurse Talk,” a radio show with a sense of humor similar to the popular NPR show, “Car Talk.”

You can listen by clicking the link below (I’m the second guest, so I’m a bit after the halfway point), but stay for the entire show. It’s a lot of fun – and you’ll learn a lot, too. Nurse Talk with Dr. Yvonne S. Thornton, author of Something To Prove

And if you’re in New York City, please be sure to stop by and see me tonight, January 4, 2011, at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 2289 Broadway at 82nd St. (212) 362-8835. The event is free and everyone is invited.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

My Memoir, Something To Prove, Will Be Available in Time for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Something to Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill A Father’s Legacy, my new memoir, was to be officially published at the end of December. However, I just learned that the publisher is going to be shipping books earlier than that – in time for gift-giving at Christmas.

So, if you’re looking for a Christmas present, especially for anyone who is a fan of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, you will be able to find Something To Prove in your local bookstore by December 14th.

Or just order online at either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and you can have it gift-wrapped and shipped directly.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy for yourself as well. And please write to me and let me know your thoughts.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Ta-Dah! Please Check Out My Gorgeous New Website

Friday, October 29th, 2010

In preparation for the launch of my new memoir, Something To Prove, my website,, was given a complete makeover. I have to say, I’m thrilled with the results, and hope you’ll like it too.

Here, you can find TV and radio interviews I’ve done with “Good Morning America,” “C-Span,” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”  Find out where I’ll be appearing to talk about and sign copies of Something to Prove.  You can even hear a performance of The Thornton Sisters, the all-girl family band (that’s me on the alto saxophone) that helped my sisters and me pay for college, medical school and beyond. The song, “Watch Your Step” was written by my older sister, Jeanette.  My younger sister, Linda, was lead vocalist (she is now a prosthodontic oral surgeon; back then, she was our drummer) and I am the soprano in the background vocals.

Browse through my photo gallery and then drop me a note on the Doctor Thornton contact page. I’m always happy to hear from you.

Please check back often as I expect to have plenty of new events to tell you about, right before Something to Prove’s publication and then, on an ongoing basis. And, of course, I’ll keep you updated here on the blog, as well.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

I’m a Cover Girl!

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I’m delighted to say that Color magazine is running a lengthy profile about me that mentions The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, and gives a taste of my new memoir, Something To Prove, in this month’s issue. The magazine’s cover also features a photograph of me in my surgical scrubs – you just can’t get better coverage than that.

But what I like best is the article, written by Bridgit Brown. Ms. Brown reviewed an advance copy of Something to Prove, and later interviewed me, and I’m happy to report that her story got to the essence of what I am trying to share.

Please check it out – and let me know what you think.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

The Ditchdigger’s Daughters on BET on July 11

Friday, July 9th, 2010

The Ditchdigger’s Daughters movie is scheduled to be re-broadcast this Sunday, July 11th at 5:30 pm (EDT), on BET.  Get your TIVO out, if you haven’t seen it before.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH