BACKSTORY

“Worthy” is a story about change and the desire for fulfillment. The first novel by Dr. Judy Salz, “Worthy” was borne of a suggestion by her daughter about a decade ago that her spare time could be better spent by writing a book.

She first tried her hand at short stories, even garnering some awards, while spending several years assembling characters, and brainstorming concepts that she could bring to life through her novel writing. However, the process wasn’t easy.

“I’d never been a writer,” Judy said. “If I wrote anything, it was 250 words. A scientific paper with no fluff or fillers.”

Assembling a narrative that would captivate an audience while including her own medical expertise was one of her primary goals. The challenge to exploring a new creative genre, a novel, drew her to the page.

“I’m fascinated that I can do it. Coming from a scientific background, my papers were geared toward factual information,” she said. “The fact that I could spin my ideas into a book is amazing. I’m still evolving.”

After several years’ worth of Word documents marinating in her Word file, edits and revisions, Judy finally had a draft “Worthy” of publication.

The book itself chronicles the stories of three characters—two doctors and a hospital chaplain—each of whom has more in common with one another than they initially realize. Pushed together by tragedy and shaped by Dr. Salz’s own experience as a medical practitioner, “Worthy” tells the story of three friends’ quest for self-fulfillment in a complicated and chaotic world.

“My physician characters react to medical situations as I would,” Judy said, “giving authenticity to the medical episodes detailed.”

“Jenny, a Jewish middle class only child raised in Manhattan, is the closest character to me. Her similar background gives me familiarity with how she might think and function in a variety of situations. Being a single parent, Jenny faces some of the challenges I dealt with.

“My family was thrown from of our beds by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Thankfully we were not injured, and our home and hospital were not destroyed. Much of what I’ve written comes from TV footage of hospital staff digging their patients out of the Olive View Hospital wreckage in Sylmar in 1971, the year before I moved to L.A. I remember watching all the young doctors just like me, and being grateful I wasn’t there.”

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