The Story behind Joe Peas, by Sam Newsome

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Yes, I did write a book.  The book, Jackie, was well received.  People sad they liked it and it won a few awards.  Folks even asked when I would write another one.  I thought about it and decided it was just too much trouble, then, well, maybe.

What could I write and why?  If I’m going to write, and ask people to read, I want to say something meaningful.  Certainly I want to entertain, but I also want to send a message.  I decided to explore the health, healing and the interaction with faith.

How could I write fiction, when, as a doctor, I write twenty clinical note per day?  Finally, the long overdue light came on.  I would write about my patients.  That’s a simple concept, really a no-brainer.  I have wonderful patients with great stories that would fill volumes.  But no, that can’t be done.  Even the most benign and unrelated joke or anecdote still falls under the umbrella of patient confidentiality.

My patients have always inspired my wonder of medicine, and now I could use them as a source while honoring their privacy.  I began with writing a story about one character.  It was a compilation of patients I’d seen over the years, but not descriptive of any actual person. This character ended up in a long-term care facility.   At that time I didn’t know if it would forever lie in my document file of develop into a story.

I went on to develop several other characters.  The portrayals have a resemblance to several patients, but are not identifiable as any one real person.

And I wanted one of my characters, Joe Peas, to be at the center of my book.  Joe is also a mixture of several patients and his amazing story has definite similarities to real people.

Joe’s rugged individualism defines him and is a perfect counterpoint to the doctor’s life that is constricted by the necessity for conformity.  Joe learns what family and friendship are like as he experiences faith and healing among the residents and staff of the long-term care facility.  Magic happens when I placed all the characters together.  They begin to act as people rather than mere print on a page.

To cement the story together, Joe’s presence is a continual factor.  Joe exerts his influence on the entire facility and hatches an outlandish plan to help with Doc’s personal problems.  When he is physically absent, unraveling the mystery of his enigmatic life keep him the center of attention.

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 Sam Newsome was raised on a farm in rural King, North Carolina. During his childhood on the farm, he learned to appreciate nature and family. He developed the work ethic that continues to benefit him.

He received a bachelor of arts in American history with pre­medical courses from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971. He received his Medical degree from Bowman Gray School of Medicine (now Wake Forest University Medical School) in 1975. He completed his family practice residency and board certification in 1978 and geriatrics certification in 1992. The patience and perseverance learned from his parents during his youth on the farm were valuable contributions to Dr. Newsome’s educational success.

In 1978 Dr. Newsome returned to his hometown to establish his medical practice and fill gaps in the medical care. During the last thirty­eight years of medical practice, he has staffed the local hospital, Stokes County Health Department, Jail health services, and the local nursing homes. He has served as a county medical examiner since 1978.

He married his childhood sweetheart, Betty Jo, in 1971 and they have resided in King since 1978. They have two children. Carlton lives in Raleigh and shares a love of words, while Justin, an engineer at B/E Aerospace, resides in Winston­Salem.

His first novel, Jackie, explores the miraculous life of a disadvantaged youth with autism spectrum who is destined for heroism.

His new novel explores Joe Peas’ and his local doctor’s similar quests to remain individuals in a world that increasingly rewards conformity. It celebrates family, friendship, faith and healing. It also gives Dr. Newsome an opportunity to entertain and educate his readers about long term care and good health habits.


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