Dear Friends,

A little over five and a half years ago, I began writing my way out of a box. I was sick with a mysterious collection of symptoms that stumped every doctor I saw. The words I was putting down at the time were my attempt to try to understand what was happening. Here's a photo of my first notebook:

Eventually, I met an immunologist who told me to stop eating GMOs. I did what he said, and, miraculously, got better. But the skeptic inside me needed to learn more about why. I read hundreds of scientific studies and interviewed close to a hundred scientists, doctors, farmers, mothers, activists, and anyone else who would talk to me. I filled banana box after banana box with notes, studies and articles. 

My first notebook

My first notebook

Finally, two and a half years in, there was a glimmer that I was starting to get somewhere: I got an article published in Elle about my illness and about the complicated issues surrounding GMOs. In the wake of that piece, Big Ag attacked me and at the same time, book editors wanted to talk to me. I chose one: A lovely young woman at Putnam. And I took off into the research — traveling across the Great Plains, Europe and to California.

It all took a long time and there was a pregnancy (and nine months of nausea), a new baby boy, and somehow, along the way, many many drafts. 

Finally, Mother's Day weekend last spring a box arrived full of ARCs--advance reader copies. The book was close to being done. 

And now, today, on September 20th, 2016, it's finally a real book! It's been such a huge journey. And I am so grateful to share it with you.

 

For a few months in the winter of 2015-16, my older son and I sat at the dining room table together in the afternoons and made drawings for my book. Here are some of the ones we kept. For each one, he did one and I did one. I will never forget doing this together; it was so special. And he is so proud that my editor, Kerri, asked to put one of his drawings in the book, too.


While we drew, our baby napped and dinner bubbled away in the Le Creuset in the oven--infusing the whole house with the smells of tomatoes and herbs and meat--my husband, Dan, made these three woodcuts for the book. It was truly a family affair!


Photo credit: Daniel E. Davis

Photo credit: Daniel E. Davis

Listen to some audio from the interviews for Modified.


 
 

I received a grant from the Maine Arts Commission to do research for Modified.