Brina Patel sits down with Dr. Lally Pia to talk about her new book
B: What made you decide to write your story into a memoir? Have you always had an affinity for storytelling?
Dr. Pia: I grew up in Ghana and I was a quintessential reader of books. I’d sometimes read three a day when I was a kid. Everyone would call me a bookworm. Like, “Oh, who wants to talk to the bookworm?” [Chuckles.] So, of course, when you start reading a lot, you get stuck being the person who tells the story.
My friends would come to me and they’d all just lie down and say, “Go ahead, tell us a story.”
From the age of 13 to 24, I wrote these long diary entries; I got used to putting down my thoughts. Writing this memoir has been in my mind for about 14, 15 years. Everybody who heard my tortuous path to becoming a physician said, “You’ve gotta write this down. I’ll read it.” I kept hearing it over and over. And honestly, I’m much more of a novelist than a memoirist because I really like exciting stories. So I just put [the memoir] in the back of my mind.
I wrote it once I started to get better at writing; as I worked through all my book clubs and all of that. It just unfolded. And then I just thought, okay, let me just get this memoir out. So that’s kind of how it happened.
Dr. Lally Pia: Psychiatrist, Memoirist, and America’s Next Great Author Finalist
Lally Pia has lived in Sri Lanka, Ghana, Wales, England, Pennsylvania, and California. After teaching at a Junior High school in Davis, she removed human body parts and mastered the fine art of embalming–––a truly dead end job.
She is a member of the Davis Writers Salon, the California Writers Club (Sacramento, Fresno) and the Elk Grove Writers Guild. Her writing has been published in anthologies for the California Literary Review and the Sacramento branch of the California Writers' Club in 2022.
She received Honorable Mention from Writers Digest in 2022 and in October 2022 she was a finalist in a nationwide talent search for America's Next Great Author.
Her article about her stroke was published in the Davis Enterprise in May, 2023 and she is an author for Doximity's Op-Med.
Her interview about a day in the life of a psychiatrist has received over 65,000 online views from pre-med students who are considering a career as a doctor or wish to specialize in the field of psychiatry.