Meet Robert Emmett, Author of Three Quick Steps: An Inspiring Account of Struggle and Recovery
BBB: What inspired you to become an author?
RE: When I retired as research director, I was full of anxiety. I went to see a psychiatrist and she said a person doesn’t change just because they retire. So I knew I would have to take up something that would challenge me. I always have been a driven person. In 2013 I wrote a few chapters for the memoir and a writer friend of mine told me she thought my style and topic would make for a good book. Basically, the reason for the memoir was my becoming a driven person which was the result of my long and tortuous recovery from paralytic polio which made me what I am today. “What goes around comes around!”
RE: Looking back (age 71), I wrote this memoir for my grandchildren and to honor the people who touched me as family and friends since I contracted polio at age nine in 1952.I intended the book to have all my significant highs (the reader will enjoy these) and lows but overall balanced and realistic. I think I also had secret desire to know myself better and this certainly was achieved.
BBB: Tell us about your main character.
RE: The main characters are me and a character named Mr. Normal. He was the person my mind brought up to spur me onto recovery...he was a very difficult taskmaster. If I had a physical deficiency due to polio (1952...age nine), he would want surgery to fix the problem, if not, physical therapy (PT), if not PT, then overcompensate or then, if all else fails, conceal. Below is a good summary of the memoir and me (from Reader’s Favorite by Jack Magnus)…
Three Quick Steps: An Inspiring Account of Struggle and Recovery is a memoir written by Robert Emmett. Emmett was your typical kid living in the early 1950s until he contracted polio at the age of nine. It was paralytic polio, a severe form of the disease, and it left him nearly paralyzed. He was fortunate in having an unusually supportive and caring network of medical professionals, friends and family who helped him get past the surgeries and painful physical therapy sessions and become physically active again. Emmett was able to go back to school for eighth grade after several years of home tutoring. After high school, he matriculated at Fordham University and went on to earn a doctorate in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Robert Emmett's autobiographical account, Three Quick Steps: An Inspiring Account of Struggle and Recovery, is awe-inspiring and humbling all at once. When I was growing up, polio vaccines were one of those dreaded inoculations that occurred at the beginning of school terms. The actual disease, and its impact on the lives of the patients and their families, was something I was fortunate enough never to find out about. The author never lapses into bitterness or self-pity, even as he relates how an afternoon's fun and play in the lake forever changed his life. His memoir is simply and beautifully written, and I felt throughout that he was there in the room telling me his story -- and that story is a remarkable one indeed. Three Quick Steps: An Inspiring Account of Struggle and Recovery is most highly recommended.
RE: Right now I am helping my partner get ready to start up a winery (Cedar Green Vineyards) and marketing the memoir.
BBB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
RE: Best bet is to go to www.amazon.com/dp/B00NMRQJ12 the description of the book follows…
“The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create the Future" Abraham Lincoln and Peter Drucker
How close to "normal" are you?
In 1952, America was only three years away from the Salk vaccine, which would eliminate the threat of polio. That same year, nine-year-old Robert Emmett contracted the paralytic disease. It ravaged his body and unmoored his spirit; doctors told him he’d never walk again.
Faced with a lifetime of health complications and discrimination, Robert gave himself a challenge: to find the courage to live a normal life. Nourished by a devoted family, Robert set out on his long road to recovery. Three Quick Steps is Robert’s story of overcoming the odds, staying inspired and triumphing over adversity. Decades after contracting polio, when he's exceeded every expectation as a scientist, husband, and father, Robert thinks he finally has the key to success and an answer to the question he’s wondered about for years: Can a disease make you a better person?
But just when he thinks he's achieved normalcy, Robert faces a new question: What if the disease isn't quite done with him?
When post-polio syndrome strikes, years after the infection has been eradicated, the hard-won peace that Robert has found is threatened. Where will an older Robert find the resolve he needs now?
Told with warmth, grace, and unflinching resolve, Emmett's remarkable memoir captures how three quick steps can lead to huge strides.