Award-winning columnist and gynecological surgeon Dr. Mike Litrel and his artist wife, Ann Litrel, of Woodstock are launching his second book and their first collaborative work, a “he said/she said” book on family and marriage this weekend.
The book launch is planned at downtown Woodstock’s popular FoxTale Book Shoppe on Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. and will include a book signing and reception with refreshments by the eatery Tea Leaves and Thyme.
The title of the new book is “Family – A Mismatch Made in Heaven: Surviving True Love, Children, and Other Blessings In Disguise.”
Dr. Litrel said many of his patients have been asking for a new book of his family stories, a follow-up to his first on faith and health, “The Eyes Don’t See: What Patients Can Teach Doctors About Medicine.”
His wife came onto the project to assist with the editing, but quickly assumed a more important role.
“Michael and I have been working on the book project since last June. It started with me in the editor role only, as I was for his first book,” Ann Litrel said. “We already knew the subject of the second book would be family and marriage. But after looking over Michael’s stories, I began to think the book would be more enlightening if it included the woman’s perspective, too.
She said that for every story her husband tells about the couple or their kids, there’s a story from her about the same subject — and sometimes an opposite point of view.
“In the past, with Michael and myself working as a writer/editor team, Michael would draft the stories, and I’d do the editing, with us passing the story back and forth a couple times until we both agreed on a final version. For this book, we reversed the process for the ‘she said’ stories, and Michael became my editor,” Ann Litrel said.
She said it was occasionally a painful process for both of them.
“I found out that shaping a story from scratch is a lot different from just ‘shaping it up.’ In this case, there was the added element of me putting into words for the first time my ‘take’ on family events as related by Michael,” she said. “Mostly the differences were just funny, but occasionally they were annoying to Michael or even a little painful. Writing things down is enlightening.”
Ann Litrel said their sons Tyler and Joseph have read the book.
“Actually, they both surprised us with some pretty good judgment calls and suggestions for a few changes,” she said.
The book begins with stories showing the “culture clash” between Dr. Litrel’ family and his wife’s family.
“Growing up, Michael was a Chinese-Italian kid from New York who became a doctor. I’m a traditional small town girl from the Midwest who became an artist,” she said.
He added that humorous pen and ink illustrations by his wife add an extra dimension.
“I just wish she’d given me more hair,” he said.
Dr. Litrel is a gynecological surgeon specializing in pelvic reconstruction at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists.
He is a regular columnist in a half dozen publications in north metro Atlanta, and is a popular speaker for audiences both layman and medical, with venues including the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.
Ann Litrel is a nationally published artist whose work has appeared on stationery, books and prints. Recently her paintings of Cherokee County landmarks were chosen by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) for display at the capital to represent his congressional district.
For more information about the book signing visit www.foxtalebookshoppe.com or call (770) 516-9989.