Sunday, September 28, 2014

Author Interview: Steven Fujita author of Toe Up to 10K: A Journey of Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury

Steven Fujita, author of the book Toe Up to 10K: A Journey of Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm a writer living in Long Beach, California. I grew up in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, attended college in Washington, D.C. In 2010, I published a novella, titled, Sword of the Undead, which is a re-telling of Bram Stoker's Dracula, but with the vampire being a Japanese samurai lord. In 2012, I was diagnosed with meningitis, and as a result, was temporarily paralyzed from the chest down. Doctors predicted I would spend about a year in a wheelchair, and another year before I would be walking "normal enough," but did not guarantee that I would regain the ability to walk again. The recovery process has seemed to define my life for the past two years. However, I was walking with a cane within six months and walking "normal enough" within 15 months. Now, at 27 months, I am walking "almost completely normal."


What do you do when you're not writing?

When I am not writing, I am reading novels and non-fiction. When I am not reading, I go out for walks, or otherwise am exercise to continue my recovery from spinal cord injury.


When did you first start writing?

I started writing stories at around 10 years old, and had always churned stories inside my mind. I tried to write out of college, but couldn't "make it," so I just left it as a side passion until technology caught up and started writing seriously again with the goal of self-publication.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

No particular book comes to mind, but the movie, Jaws, based on Peter Benchley's novel was an influence, and growing up, I was an avid comic book reader.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

At first, I wanted to write this book because it was really difficult to find information about dealing with spinal cord injuries. I kept wanting to know how I would recover, and how long it would take for various health issues caused by the spinal cord injury to resolve. So, I thought about writing about my experiences as some of the issues I dealt with while recovering from spinal cord injury. But as I wrote deeper into the book, I also wanted my experiences to inspire and motivate people who find themselves in the same situation I had - or really to inspire the reader to face obstacles other than spinal cord injury.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite part of the book to write was the one titled, "Kaizen," which, loosely translated, means continuous improvements over time - meaning as long as you are moving in the right direction, no matter how small the movement, will manifest into noticeable gains. It was shortly before I wrote this chapter that I was feeling frustrated at the lack of improvement I seemed to be making, but in reality, I was improving all along. And when I realized that, it renewed my motivation to continue working towards a full recovery.


What is best writing advice you can give?

Be yourself and find your voice; the writing will flow more smoothly, and the sincerity will show.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

Even though the ending is predictable, I hope readers will still find it compelling,and also find it inspirational, motivational, and useful.



About the book:

In June 2012, Steven Fujita went to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with meningitis. After four days of improvement, he was scheduled to be discharged when his condition worsened dramatically. His blood pressure, body temperature and sodium levels all became dangerously low. He started to lose consciousness. He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. He had suffered spinal cord damage at the T4 level. Upon regaining full consciousness, Fujita could not speak, eat, breathe independently, control bodily functions, nor move his legs.

“Once we understand what we have to go through, become resolved to see it through, and know we will survive, we feel our ordeal is not so bad,” Fujita writes. In this book, he takes the reader on a journey of recovery from a spinal cord injury. It is not only a journey of determination and hard work, but of positive attitude, of drawing inspiration, of gratitude towards those around him: his family, his friends, co-workers, and medical professionals.



About the author:

Steven Fujita was born in Los Angeles and raised in Torrance, California. He attended college in Washington, D.C., and currently lives in Long Beach, California. Mr. Fujita is the author of the vampire novella, Sword of the Undead and the financial planning book, $10 A Day Towards $1,000,000. In June 2012, as a consequence of meningitis, he suffered a spinal cord injury, which temporarily left him a paraplegic. He wrote about his recovery process in a book titled Toe Up to 10K. He is currently working on his new projects representing his return to supernatural fiction.



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