Using Your Book To Fight For Change

Page & Podium’s newest author, Wendy Davis, knows all about this. Her memoir The Fight You Don’t See, due for release on March 19, 2024, tackles the powers that block women from making a difference in politics, in religious organizations, in their communities, and across the world. 

In addition to being a soon-to-be-published author, Wendy is a former candidate for the Utah Health of Representatives and the chief experience officer for Agile Cloud Consulting. She holds a PhD in political science from the University of Utah and she’s worked as a higher education and nonprofit technology expert for over two decades. Wendy resides in Sandy, Utah with her husband, Dean. 

We caught up with Wendy to learn more about what it’s like to use a book to fight for change. 

Amanda: Welcome, Wendy. We are so excited to hear about your book. 

Wendy Davis: Thank you, Amanda. Appreciate the opportunity. 

Amanda: Let’s just get started. If you can, in just a sentence or two, tell us what your book is about. 

Wendy: Yes. Absolutely. I have to tell you, I love chocolate cake. What this is is like a beautiful slice of my life, like a chocolate cake, where there’s layers or squishy stuff in the middle, but hopefully, you get just this beautiful bite and really understand that slice of my life. What we’re trying to tell in that slice is my desire, the preparation, and ultimately running for the Utah State Legislature in 2020. 

Amanda: Excellent. I know with all memoir, and I think particularly with your memoir, there’s the topic, so you’re running for office, but then also it’s so important that a strong memoir has a really clear message, something that you want people to take away. I know when we first met, that was what you led with, really. Tell us a little bit, what is the message? What are you hoping people will take away? 

Wendy: There’s a couple of messages. It’s not a how-to book. It’s not a book about politics 101 or anything like that. It’s not a civics book or something. Really, the messages that I want people to take away, that running for office is really hard, and if you’re a woman running for office, it’s really, really hard, but in addition to that, it’s also worth it. 

A secondary theme that was really important to me to amplify in the book was this idea of power, who has it, who is using it for good, who’s controlling it. I call those power structures. That’s an academic term, but in the book we use that in a way that I think is very relatable and that we all face power structures we might not know and call them that, but really recognizing those, and then once you recognize what it is and define it, it stops having as much power over you and you can start to take some of your power back and make different decisions.

What is a Power Structure?

Amanda: I love that 100%. Give us an example, either from your book or just day-to-day life, what is a power structure? 

Wendy: Really, a power structure– I’ll share a couple that are in my life. Being part of a religious culture that’s patriarchal, there are patriarchal power structures, where it’s very male-dominated, and while females are definitely invited and welcome and beloved, don’t have the same footing, don’t have literally the same power and authority. That creates this inequity in really the way that the world works. 

I’ve seen them in my personal life in companies, people who– I’ve been lucky to be in sales and marketing for a lot of times, so on the top of the food chain in a lot of corporations, if you will. People who are bringing money into a company have a lot more power and influence. I’ve seen that. I’ve experienced that over and over again. Those are a couple of examples. 

Government power structures. People who know the rules and make the rules and know the secret code have an advantage over those who don’t, whether that’s an average citizen who doesn’t know how to navigate the political process, doesn’t know how to testify before a committee, or doesn’t know how to contact their lawmaker, but people who have more information, access to that information, there’s just an inequitable power structure. There are many, many more examples, but those are a couple. 

Amanda: Yes, no, I think that’s so helpful. One of the things that I love that you really crystallize in your book is that not only might we recognize these power structures and hopefully fight against them, but there also is usually a stage in our life where we don’t even know they’re there. We just are feeling that something is not right or we’re not able to do the things we want to do, we’re not able to get where we want to go. That feeling of powerlessness, either we can invest and fight against it or we can just end up getting stuck. I think that really brings me to my next question, which is, why is this message, particularly in the context of people running for office, why is that so important? 

Wendy: Definitely. Going back to what you said just a minute ago about not even knowing that these power structures exist, and I think some of the earliest times I experienced that in my life, and I think a lot of people can relate to this, the first time you’re a tween or a teenager and you’re just so angry, but you don’t have the power to do something about it, whether you’re angry at your parents or you’re angry at the school or you’re angry at the police, whatever you’re angry at, and because those people or entities or organizations have power over you and you feel like you can’t do anything. I think we’ve all experienced that growing up as teenagers or if you have teenagers now or grandchildren or something like that, so really relatable. 

Why it’s important in politics today. Again, I think it’s a little bit about knowing the secret sauce. Campaigns are very expensive. They can be very expensive. At the local level, not so much. It’s a lot more attainable for people to run a campaign. You can run a school board campaign, depending on where you live and your political climate and all kinds of things, but you shouldn’t have to go broke to run a campaign. 

If you move up to a very large county race or you move up to a state race or a federal race, we’re talking at the federal level, millions of dollars. In order to even play in that arena, you have to know people who have the money and the people who have the money have the influence and the power. Not to just break it down into something super simple that way. Aside from that structural part of it, those are the parts that people think about, like, oh, you need money and who has the money, who has the influence, who has the power? 

There are also rules that you may or may not know about when you go to run for office, written or unwritten. There are rules for parties which are a power structure, but doesn’t matter what party you are. Green, constitutional, Democrat, Republican, they all have them. They have rules. You have to know how to navigate them. 

I think the biggest challenge are the unknown things, the unknown power structures that you might hit, people that you don’t even know you need their influence to help you, and who can withhold it or make life a little bit more challenging for you. It’s just a very interesting subculture that until you’re in it, you don’t know the rules, you don’t know the players, you don’t know how to navigate it. If you can break that down and have people help you with that, it’s a lot easier. 

Amanda: Absolutely. I love that your book really goes into, and you’re very vulnerable about it too, about the things that you didn’t know going in and some of the missteps. I think, really, as people read this book, when you read it, you feel like you’re in that world. It is going to be, I think, such a valuable resource for people who have been thinking about running, maybe they want to run, maybe they don’t. Sometimes that’s years and years and years, which you talk about going through that in your book as well. 

How to Know When It’s Time to Tell Your Story

Amanda: I want to talk to you about something else that a lot of people spend years and years and years on, which is deciding to write a memoir. I talk to people that are doing this all the time. Sometimes people wait a decade. I’ve had people wait more. It’s a really hard decision to know when it is time, how much to reveal all that. Let’s start with that first bit. How did you know? When did that it was time to tell the story? 

Wendy: I’ve wanted to write a book for a very long time. I’ve always been a writer. Since the time I was a young child, I was writing poems and short stories. I wrote in journals from the time I was young. I wrote in a journal most of my adult life. I’ve always been a writer. I love fiction, that’s my favorite genre. Specifically, historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. 

I thought that I would write a book that would be a memoir, if you will. I don’t know that I would’ve called it a memoir, but probably historical fiction about my time as a missionary in former Yugoslavia, which would have been a different slice of chocolate cake. The same cake, a different slice, a different vantage point there. It’s always been in the back of my mind to do that. 

Then a lot of time passes and you’re like, “I don’t know if I’ve got anything worth saying, and maybe my story’s old, maybe it’s not relevant. So much has been written about that area of the world, what can I contribute?” It led to a lot of self-doubts. When I jumped into this campaign, a couple of things had happened in my life. I was done with the biggest academic tasks that I had. Big, big, big things that I’d finished and I was ready to do something different. I started getting involved in this process, and I’m like, “This is crazy. No one is ever going to believe that this stuff happens. No one’s ever going to believe it.” 

I pulled this out. I started this notebook. I took my label maker, and this was in 2020. It says, “The book I will write after the campaign, the one where I won’t change the names.” I have a little notebook. I’m like, “I don’t have time to write anything now,” but in here, there’s sticky notes, there’s all kinds of things, just jotting things down that would jog my memory. Like, “Oh, you’ve got to write down about that one guy that said that one thing because no one’s going to believe that.” Just keeping almost like a journal, but not anything formal. I’m telling you, it’s sticky notes, it was random, it was not regular, knowing that there’s going to be a time and a place. 

Then still, even after this incredible story that happens, just having this like, “Is my story worth telling? I don’t know. I don’t know.” I sat on it for a couple of years and then I started talking about it and saying like, “I’m going to write a story. I’m going to write a story,” and started asking people like, “How do I do that? Who do I know?” It was just something that I wouldn’t let go and just kept believing that this story was worth telling. It’s my story, but I think there’s a lot to be gained in telling this story that will help other people. That’s how I knew the timing was right for that particular slice of the chocolate cake, if you will. 

Amanda: I love that because that is true. Every author I have ever met, myself included, actually, go through these periods of, “I have to tell this. People need to know. I can help so many people and nobody cares who I am. Nobody cares what I think.” I love how you talked about that. Also, that journal thing. I have not seen that before and that is really cool. Highly, highly recommend, because I will tell you, when we started this process with Wendy, she had such great notes and drafts and all kinds of material and it really helped, I think, make this book so rich because you had right at your fingertips all of the things that you wanted to make sure you shared. 

What’s It Like to Work With A Writing Partner

Amanda: As you said, when you start writing a book, you start asking about it, you start learning all of the things, and there’s usually a lot more than people think. Talk to us a little bit about what that process was like for you. Were there things that you really did not expect? Were there things that were easier than you thought? How was it like to work through the book? 

Wendy: I think what was easy, if you will, and I’m a pretty open person, and so I was willing to share a lot of different aspects of my life, some of which I didn’t think were particularly relevant until we lay out this puzzle on the table and say, “All right, let’s find the corners. Let’s build the edges. What’s this going to look like in the middle?” Laying it all out there and not really knowing exactly how my life story would weave into this delicious bite of chocolate cake, if you will. 

The other thing is, it’s a very active process. It’s like a part-time job. I don’t say that to dissuade people, but to be so invested in it. It’s something that you’re actively doing. Having engaged in lots and lots of big writing processes, it’s hard. It is hard to remain that engaged. Again, not to dissuade anybody from doing it, absolutely worth doing it, but it’s a commitment. It’s a commitment. 

I think once you’re in it and committed to it, it’s like a project. You’re like, “I’m going to power through until I get this done.” This is more than just a project, it’s a labor of love. It’s exposing part of your heart and your soul to, really, a worldwide audience and not really knowing, and quite frankly, not really caring in some cases how everyone feels about that. That was the interesting bit to me about the process. 

Also, you’ve already intonated that there were really rough things that happened, reliving that again, and I had already processed that for a couple of years, but then writing it in such a way, it was reliving it another time. 

I was a little surprised that there were still some surface emotions coming to the top. There was one chapter that was– it’s only been recently that I can read the end of the chapter and not get a little misty-eyed. Just that emotion of, “Okay, that thing happened.” Not getting misty-eyed doesn’t mean that it’s any less severe of what happened or less important, it’s just learning to like, “Okay, I’m settling into that,” and now just speaking about it more factual, if you will, than with a high level of emotion. 

Amanda: Well, that’s the processing magic. I know you talk in the book and we have talked a lot about therapy, and I love therapy. I’m such a huge advocate for it, I know you are too, and I do find that going through this writing process is a different type of processing for people, and they go really well together. I loved right away you were like, “Well, I have a therapist. I’m working with her throughout,” because really, it does stir stuff up and in a way that’s sometimes really surprising and not always that fun. 

Wendy: Yes, absolutely. This won’t ruin anything about the book, but I started working with the therapist while I was on the campaign trail, and it was at the beginning of COVID, which was an extremely stressful time for pretty much everybody in the world, I think. Then stuck with her for a long time. There was a lot of trauma that I needed to work through. Regularly, we would talk about how things are going in the book, even surfacing like, “Oh, I don’t know, am I going to make this person upset?” I’m like, “Really? You’re writing a book about female empowerment and you’re still worried about making certain people angry.” 

Working that out in therapy like, “This is your story. If they want to tell their story, they can tell their story.” Love therapy, the mental health component that I share in my book, I think is really important. Nobody talks a lot about political trauma, but it’s something that we should talk more about. 

Amanda: 100%. I love that. Well, I wanted to ask you too, because this is a really common thing that I hear from people, is there’s part of you always that’s like, “I have to tell this the way I experienced it. I have to lay it all out there. I have to be vulnerable,” because when your goal is to help other people, holding stuff back really is going to undermine that goal. 

How Do You Decide How Much to Reveal in a Memoir

At the same time, a lot of times, and this is true for you, I know, you are still in the circles, the social circles and the political circles and the work circles, with the people that you’re sharing things about. How did you decide what to leave in, what to leave out, if you wanted to change names, if you wanted to change situations a bit so that they weren’t identifiable? How did you go through that process? 

Wendy: Yes, I think that the thing that grounded me most is this is my story, and there are other people involved in it, but it’s not really about them. I know that sounds like a strange thing to say. I see people as not really characters in this story, but it’s not about protecting what they think or don’t think. There are a lot of different people mentioned by name in my book, some that I reference, some I intentionally don’t share their names because it’s just not relevant to the story. Especially if someone had power over me, I don’t want to give them more power by calling them out and sharing their names and amplifying that. 

There was a friend who previewed the book for me and mentioned, “Whoever this nameless, faceless person is–” and I’m like, “Okay, I’m glad you think it’s a nameless, faceless person.” That’s the point, is I want it to feel like a nameless, faceless person. There were parts of my life that are not relevant to the book. This isn’t a story about my family and my children and my grandchildren. It’s not that I don’t love them and that they’re not an important part of my life. They’re just not in this story. This isn’t the piece of that cake that they’re part of, but there were a lot of people that I cared deeply about and what they thought and really wanted to get it right. 

There was only one name that I changed, and I mentioned that in the acknowledgments, and that was because it was a classmate, somebody I’ve known since I was a little girl in elementary school. We grew up in a small town. We went to the same middle school, same high school, and this incident happened to him. I tell it through my emotion of experiencing that because what happened in a very crowded impacted everyone. 

I didn’t use his name, we’re not really friends, we’re more acquaintances. I was like, I didn’t want to go into the whole thing like, “I’m going to share this story. Do I have your permission?” I didn’t really need his permission. I don’t say that in a– I didn’t need his permission to tell how I viewed that event that happened to him. Does that make sense? I wasn’t quoting him. I wasn’t telling his story. It was like, “Hey, I observed this thing that happened.” I felt really comfortable with that. 

For the most part, everybody is named by their real name or I intentionally don’t use their name just because, mainly, I don’t want to give them power, and the things that happened that were not great, I don’t want to give that any more power than it deserves. 

Amanda: That is such a powerful perspective, truly, because I love– I think it’s okay to give some teasers from the book, and so I will say there is a part that I love so much, where you are talking about waiting till it’s the right time to run for politics. You go through the different times that you thought about running for office. There’s a part where you say, “I asked for permission, but this time I was not going to ask for permission.” Oh, I have chills, actually, even just sharing it. It is an amazing moment where we can really see you step into your own. 

I love the meta aspect of this and how you’re also talking about it’s your story, you don’t need permission to share things from your own perspective, and I know this was true for you, as long as you are staying true to what your experience was. Obviously, we aren’t making stuff up and slandering people, but as long as you’re staying really, really true to what you observed and what you saw, it’s your story. Like you said, they can write their own if they want to, but there’s no sense in walking back your story in a way that’s going to make it less helpful for you and your readers. 

Wendy: Yes. Thank you for that perspective. I appreciate that. There’s a person that I write about who’s actually running for the governor of the state of Utah this year. There’s another person that I had write about that is running for United States senator. It’s like, “Oh, well, I didn’t know you were running for senator, you’re mentioned in my book.” Again, these are all personal interactions that I’ve had with individuals. They’re not big, long drawn-out stories, but they happened. It’s my view of things that happened. Some of the stories I’ve shared so often with so many people, they’re like, “Yes, we’ve heard that story before.” 

Amanda: Yes, no, I think that’s also very common, is that it’s like, “Oh, actually, I don’t even need to name that person,” because everybody’s going to be able to figure out who it is anyway. 

Wendy: There’s a really funny story that I share, that it’s Valentine’s Day eve years ago, I was sitting on a plane next to Mitt Romney. Every February 13th it pops up. I think people are done with me sharing the story because I’ve shared it so often about this crazy experience that I had being seated next to him in first class. He’s a public figure. You know what I’m saying? 

Amanda: Yes. He has had so much worse and so much better. This is a blip. Yes, 100%. That’s great. Well, I did want to ask you, because I loved– one thing that you did was that you took the parts where you were talking about somebody else or a conversation and you took them to the person and said– either, I know sometimes you read it aloud, or sometimes I think you just shared it electronically. Talk to us about that decision, first of all, to do that, and now after you’ve been through that process, would you do anything differently? Do you feel like that was a good strategy? 

Wendy: Yes, there are two things that impacted that decision. One is the academic side of me who really wants to get things right and document things correctly. It’s not a research paper, but the other part is I had a chance to say, “Hey, written this about you.” When the book comes out, I don’t want you to say, “Wendy, if you just asked me, you got almost all of it, but this one thing,” I just didn’t want that. I wanted the most accurate account that was true to my memory but also honored what they felt had accurately happened. 

I’ll give you an example. There’s a story that is legend in my family. This did not happen to me, by the way, this happened to my sister, who was a little girl at the time. She was 10 years old. It happened at the Arkansas State Capitol building. What happens, and I’ve heard the story, it’s like Story of Legends, and I write about it. I’m like, “Hey, is this how this went down?” I sent her the paragraphs. She’s like, “Not exactly, but I feel comfortable if you say this, this.” It didn’t change it at all, but getting her sign off on that meant something to me. 

There was another scene where we were talking about something that happened with my dad, and she remembered it just a little bit differently, which is fine, not so much that it contrasted anything that I believed. There were some technical things in the book where I write about election law and election days and gerrymandering, and I just didn’t want to get those things wrong. 

I had lunch with our former county clerk, and I’m like, “This is how I remember that. Is that what happened?” She’s like, “Well, let me tell you a couple of things you didn’t know. Don’t put this in the book, but here’s some context.” I’m like, “Okay, that is super helpful.” Even the night before my final deadline, I’m texting somebody, I’m like, “I just want to make sure that I’ve got this factually correct. Do I have this correct?” 

That was really important to me. Not every single person that I mentioned, but if it was something where I’d written a scene, I wanted to make sure I represented this as factually accurate as I possibly could. There are things that I got wrong, I’m sure there are things that I got wrong, but it wasn’t for lack of trying and wasn’t for lack of my due diligence. 

Amanda: 100%. Yes, I love that. We talked a lot, and people who have watched this show before will know I talk a lot about perfectionism and how do we strive for excellence, understanding that life is life and art is art and it just is not a precise science, and there just are going to be things that are imperfect. I love that. 

The other thing that I talk a lot about on this show is the memoir that we wrote, where it was four adult children of the author, and every single one of them had a different take on where the merry-go-round came from. Yes, that’s why, and one of the things that we teach in the memoir method and when I work with people one-on-one is that truth is more important than facts. What I love is that you really verified both as much as you possibly could. I think that’s really valuable. 

Wendy: I tried, and this will make you laugh if you don’t know this, but the very first scene in the book is me opening a door and I’m like, “I got to know what the door’s made of. I got to know the wood. I got to know the wood of the door.” You’re like, “Really, Wendy, it doesn’t matter.” I’m like, “it matters to me.” It was two emails and a phone call to the chief architect of the Illinois State Capitol before I finally found out that the door was mahogany. I felt so proud. [laugh] Accurately represented the door. That was probably the most extreme. If not, we would’ve just taken out mahogany, we would’ve said the wooden door. The qualifier, mahogany, it has such a rich tone to it. 

Amanda: Agreed. Yes. I love that detail and I love that you tracked it down, a lot of people wouldn’t have, and I think it really speaks to your eye for detail and your dedication to really making sure the story is well told. Your book will be out in just about a week. If you don’t have it, if you’ve not pre-ordered, you can pre-order anywhere you buy books as well as direct from Page & Podium. That URL is pageandpodium.com/wendydavis. Pick that up if you have not. Wendy, I want to know from you, how are you feeling as we build up to this big, exciting date? 

Wendy: I’ve thought about this a lot. When I ran a campaign, I had absolutely no control over the outcome. I could work as hard as I could. I ran hard, left a body mark in the wall, knocked all the doors, but at the end of the day, the voters still got to choose. I feel very similarly here. I know how hard this process has been, how proud I am of this work. It’s beautiful. People who’ve read it have told me positive– They’re all friends, by the way, but I just don’t know what the result is going to be, how it’ll be received. I’m not afraid of that. 

A couple years ago I might have been afraid of that, and now it’s just like, “Let’s see where this goes. How is this going to work out?” I have no idea if it’s going to sell 500 copies or 5,000 copies. I’m okay with all of that. It’s like, “It’s going to be even more.” That’s the exciting bit. 

The other thing I just realized, it’s not a one and done. I will always be attached to this book for the rest of my life. It’s possible that 20 years down the road I’m going to run into somebody at a random place and they’ll be like, “Oh, you’re Wendy Davis. I read that book.” It’ll happen. None of that had occurred to me until really recently, because I was so focused on the task at hand, which was getting the story right. I didn’t even think about the really exciting part, is that wasn’t the end, that was just one stage of it, right? 

Amanda: Yes. I think that’s such an important point, because when you’re in the thick of it, you’re just in the thick of it. Some days are great and some days are terrible and you just got to get through it. 

What’s the best part of Writing a Memoir?

Amanda: Now that you do have this view backwards where you can look at the whole process as a holistic thing, what were your favorite parts? We’ve talked a lot about the hard stuff, but what was the most fun part of working through this process of your memoir? 

Wendy: I think, honestly, seeing the metaphor of the puzzle, like here, it’s all laid out, here’s how it can fit together, and how you can tell your story and tell your life story at the same time. I think that was really important to me, and being able to pay homage to my family and to my ancestral roots into my upbringing and my childhood and the culture that I grew up in, but tell it through the lens of that and in a very beautiful way. I think that was probably it. 

It’s very satisfying to just call it done. That’s extremely satisfying to call it done. The thrill, the couple of people that I’ve read a chapter or two out loud to, something that I’ve sat with for months, and I’m like, “Oh, let me read you the first chapter.” I did that recently to one of my oldest friends, and he was just stunned. He is like, “That’s really good.” I’m like, “Yes, yes, yes.” He’s like, “No, no, no.” I’m like, “You’re my friend.” He’s like, “No, I would tell you the truth.” That was like, “Oh, okay. Well, maybe there is something that people are going to be interested in.” 

It’s interesting, you know this about me, memoirs are not my jam. Historical fiction is my jam, but it’s stories. People like stories about other people. Hopefully, people will be interested in this story. 

Amanda: I think we have every reason to believe. First of all, I do, memoirs are my jam, and this one is really, really good. Also, the feedback that you have gotten has been just amazing. What I love is that through this process, the two of us together, we were really careful to make sure that we were also getting input from people who live this world of politics so that we have experts on the area that can really comment on the value of the story, because it’s the story, it’s engaging. I think anyone would enjoy this book. 

There’s also, I think, a real beneficial educational piece to just really help people see, if you run for office, this is what it’s going to be like. Some of it’s really hard, but it is still so important. As we’re heading into this big election year, we are in this big election year already, I think that’s such a powerful, important message. 

Wendy: Yes, I think so too. It’s not only important, but it’s worth it. If you’ve ever gone through something really hard and you’re living it and it’s just really, really hard, and you need a little bit of time and space. I was thinking about this. Would I do anything differently? It’s really hard to say that because I know more now, but there’s something that I know that has happened to me, and I’m different. In a way, it was a growth opportunity. Anything that’s really challenging, getting your PhD, raising your children, getting a really hard job, whatever, they’re all growth opportunities, and my story hopefully demonstrates a tremendous growth opportunity. 

When you come out at the end of a growth opportunity, you shouldn’t be bitter. You should be hopeful and look forward and say, “I’ve learned these lessons. What can I do to help you? How can I make that playing field more level for you? I have information that I didn’t know before, can I share what I know with you? You don’t have to believe me, you don’t have to trust me, you don’t have to agree with my opinion, totally fine, but if I can give you just a little bit more of a level playing field, maybe you’ll do better in your experiences and dealing with the things that happened to me.” 

Amanda: Yes. I think that’s great. There’s a hard thing in running for office and there’s a hard thing in writing a book, and you were really great throughout the process. I think we’ve already seen that with calling people, checking in with people, finding the facts. 

How Did You Decide to Hire Professional Writing Support?

Amanda: You really did not hesitate to get the support that you needed throughout the process. I’m wondering, because a lot of folks that will watch this video will be interested in writing their own memoir, what kinds of advice do you have for somebody who’s thinking about, “Do I need support? What support do I need?” How should they think about that? 

Wendy: Yes. I consider myself a pretty competent writer. I have the story, I have the writing skills. I did not have the time or the ability to pull things together necessarily in the right way. I needed a partner. Even in my work life, even sitting where I sit at in a leadership level, I know where my skills end or where I’m stretching them. To me, the sign of a good leader is then surrounding yourselves with people who can match your skillset and say like, “Hey, I got this. You don’t know how to do this, let me handle this, and you do this other thing.” That’s where I knew. 

I’d been talking about it for like two years. Everyone I spoke with, I was like, “I need help. I need help. I need help.” I feel like I had some of the skill, but not all. The academic writing, business writing, writing random poetry, it’s very different skillset. Also, just because I thought, “Oh, I’m a reader. I’m a prolific reader. How hard can this be?” I think I shared with you, this is very cliche, but Stephen King is one of my favorite authors. I love Stephen King, and I started trying to study his writing style. I’m like, “I can’t do that. [laughs] He makes it interesting? I know I have an interesting story. I don’t know how to make it interesting.” 

It’s one thing to be a good communicator, a good speaker. I can tell somebody– and a good writer, but drawing all that together was where I’m like, “All right, I need a tile guy, I need a plumber, I need the cabinet person.” Just like I hire experts in other areas of my life, I’m like, I needed this partner to help me get it over the line. That’s really how I view that, as a true partnership. 

Amanda: I love that. I love what you said about, “I can tell the story. I know the story’s really good. If I want it to be as good in a book as it is when I tell it, I need someone whose expertise is telling stories in a book,” because that is such a fine line that I think gets brushed over a lot, is, you’re right, you are a great writer. Having that little extra boost, this book is so, so good. Speaking of that, I want to make one more plug. If you have not pre-ordered this book, go pre-order it, or if you’re watching this, a week or two behind, go order it. You are not going to want to miss out on this book. It is so powerful. 

Wendy, you were saying earlier, the part that you tear up. There are parts I cry every single time I read them, and I’ve seen them a lot. This is a moving book. There are parts that are really funny. It’s inspiring. It is just a really powerful story that I know everybody is going to want to pick up. 

What Do You Hope people Will Take Away from Your Memoir?

Amanda: When they do, Wendy, what do you hope that they’re going to take away from your book? What should they keep in mind as they’re reading? 

Wendy: I hope that people walk away from this book saying, “Yes, that was really hard, but there’s still hope for the future.” Politics can be really hard, things that we go through can be really hard, but it’s still worth it. It’s still worth doing. There’s a reason that I titled the book The Fight You Don’t See. I had the title before, one word was composed on the page, that became my anchor. That’s what I’m trying to show. There are fights that we don’t see. 

People reading the book will say like, “I have fights that other people don’t see.” We should talk about them more, normalize what these are. Whether they’re power structures in your job and your religion that you’re experiencing, what are the fights that we’re all fighting? Because they’re worth being seen and they’re worth sharing. Mostly I really hope that it’s a hopeful book. I don’t think this will dissuade anyone from running for office. That is not my goal. My goal is to say, you absolutely should do that. Let me tell you what happened to me so that you’re a little bit more informed. It’s not going to be exactly what happened to you, but maybe learning this story is going to help you give you a little bit of an edge. 

Amanda: Yes, it’s a really empowering read, for sure. Go pick up this book, The Fight You Don’t See by Wendy Davis, published by Page & Podium Press. We are just delighted to be bringing this into the world on March 19th, 2024. Wendy, thank you so much for joining us. 

Wendy: Thank you, Amanda. Appreciate it. 

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Amanda Edgar

Amanda Edgar

Dr. Amanda Nell Edgar is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and book coach and the founder of Page & Podium Press. Co-author of the forthcoming Summer of 2020: George Floyd and the Resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Amanda has authored two nationally award-winning books and ghostwritten many more.

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