Science Book a Day Interviews Lynn Sherr

lynn-sherrSpecial thanks to Lynn Sherr for answering 6 questions about her recently featured book – Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space

Lynn Sherr is an award-winning broadcaster and author who spent more than thirty years at ABC News. She reported on the NASA space shuttle program from its inception in 1981 through the Challenger explosion in 1986. Sherr’s numerous awards include an Emmy, two American Women in Radio and Television Commendation awards, a Gracie Award, and a George Foster Peabody Award. Her books include Swim, Outside the Box, and America the Beautiful, among others. – From Simon and Schuster

Lynn’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnSherr

#1 – What was the impetus for Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space?

After Sally died in July 2012, public reaction to the surprising news that she had been in a relationship with another woman for 27 years led her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, and her family, to the realization that a proper biography was in order. Sally never wanted one when she was alive. So Tam contacted her (and Sally’s) literary agent, Esther Newberg, who contacted me. Esther was Sally’s agent because 30 years ago when Sally wanted to write her first children’s book, she (Sally) asked me who should represent her. I sent her to Esther. The wheel came full circle.

#2 – As the first American woman in space, where expectations of her different to the previous men who had gone into space?

Expectations were higher — always are — for every “first”, especially first women. Sally understood that her flight carried the hopes and dreams of millions of girls and women across the country, and across the world. She told me right before she flew, back in 1983, that she didn’t want to “mess up,” and I am sure that she meant she didn’t want to mess up for all those women who were counting on her. She did not mess up, and became a perfect role model for women in every walk of life.

#3 – As an inspiration for women across America in STEM, how did she feel about her position? Did you speak to women inspired by her for the book?

Sally has inspired several generations of girls and women to study and stay in science, to become everything from astronauts to chemical engineers to botanists. Yes, I spoke to many who saw her bold journey as their own tickets to success.

#4 – Passing away in 2012, what do you think her legacy will be?

Sally’s legacy will be her bravery, her brilliance, her ability to perform under pressure and do it to perfection. And it will be her insistence that others appreciate the joy of science, the magic of discovery, the beauty and elegance of systems. She wanted girls, especially to understand that scientists don’t spend their lives locked in underground labs, all by themselves — that it’s a team effort, and that it’s fun!

#5 – How did you go about your research for this book?

I am an experienced journalist and a longtime book author, so I followed my usual steps: careful questions, saturation reading and interviewing, triple checking everything. In this case, i was especially lucky since I’d covered so much of Sally’s professional life, I had my own notes to refer to.

#6 – Are you working on any new projects/books you can tell us about?

Nothing I can talk about now. Hoping everyone will buy and enjoy SALLY RIDE: America’s First Woman in Space for years to come.

[Image Credit: Author’s Twitter ]

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