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IRDA Winner Travis Lee Hicks: “Readers who are going through difficult times will be inspired by my daughter’s story and find solace in knowing that they’re not alone.”

No Match For Her was the winner in the Health/Medicine/ Nutrition category of the 2021 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Travis Lee Hicks.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

No Match For Her, Nov. 26, 2019

What’s the book’s first line?

“I never would have dreamed it would be a pillow to break the news that my child had cancer, but that’s how it happened.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

“No Match For Her” is a memoir of my experiences as the father of a pediatric cancer patient. Two weeks before Christmas in 2014, our 12-year-old daughter, Lilli, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a blood cancer less common in children and harder to beat than the more common Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I was in the worst shape of my life when I watched Lilli fight for her life, and I decided to fight for my life so that I could be there to watch her live. I wrote about two parallel transformations: my daughter’s transformation from an average girl to a cancer survivor, and my transformation from a couch potato to a long distance runner.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

During my daughter’s fight against leukemia, I wrote updates about our family of five’s journey through cancer on several social media platforms. When I copied and pasted all my content into a document, I had nearly 200 pages of material. Friends and family encouraged me to convert this material into a book, as they could see the value to readers who might be going through similarly tough times.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Lilli Hicks is a girl who fights for her life with strength and resilience. Like other pediatric cancer patients, she responds to her situation like a real life superhero. Pick up any comic book, and you’ll find characters who couldn’t hold a candle to Lilli.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Readers who are going through difficult times will be inspired by my daughter’s story and find solace in knowing that they’re not alone. Readers who have not experienced hard times or life-threatening illnesses will gain insights into what cancer patients and families go through every day. Comfort and empathy are two reasons to pick up my book.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I have written so many books in my head over the years, but I didn’t put pen to paper in earnest until I had nearly 200 pages of material without even trying.

Is this the first you’ve written?

Yes, this is my first book. Before writing this memoir, I had written a few academic papers and a chapter in a professional handbook.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I am an architect and a university professor of interior architecture. I collaborate with students, faculty, and community partners on architecture and design projects that impact the community.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

Not enough. I have several academic book projects that have moved rather slowly since self-publishing “No Match For Her.” COVID-19 impacted everything in my life, including my writing.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?

I would seriously consider going traditional if a publisher came calling. As a part-time self-published author, I lack the marketing and promotion skills and time to expand the reach of my work. A traditional publisher could help me in this regard.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

The primary motivation for this memoir was the desire to share my story with close friends and family, some of whom were elderly or sickly, who had supported our family through our most trying times. I wanted to produce a quality work; however, I decided to self publish my book so that I could put it in the hands of readers more quickly than traditional publishing routes. My secondary motivation was sharing our story with others who might go through similar struggles. Fame and fortune, low on my list of priorities, continue to elude me.