Monday, June 29, 2020

Molly, Mushrooms, & Mayhem: Stories from Inside the Music Festival Medical

Are my readers in for a treat today. I'm going to take you back to a time in my life -- hippie style. What I mean by that is in August of 2017, I attended the Symbiosis Eclipse Event in Oregon and camped out for ten days at the music festival to watch. The music was non-stop with 60,000 of our closest friends. I must say this was one of the most glorious things I have ever done in my life. I attended with my daughter, Jamie, and her family. That's us to the left. Unfortunately, we did have to visit the medical tent for breathing treatments for my grandson. So, I know firsthand what it is like to visit a medical tent during a festival.

Dr. Mel chilling after the eclipse.

Today's author, Jim Bollenbacher, knows too as he often works during festivals as an EMT. His book, "Molly, Mushrooms, & Mayhem: Stories from Inside the Music Festival Medical Tent" is worth the read. Take a look and meet the author.

Molly, Mushrooms, & Mayhem: Stories from Inside the Music Festival Medical Tent Kindle Edition

by Jim Bollenbacher  (Author)
Go behind the scenes of popular music festivals with the medical professionals who risk it all to keep everyone safe. From intoxicated teens to patients in porta-potties, discover the hidden, often hilarious, side of music festivals from the points of view of dedicated EMT's and paramedics. Written by lawyer-turned paramedic Jim Bollenbacher, this lighthearted collection of stories provides an inside view of the world of music festival medicine. And all proceeds from the sale of this book benefit the First Responders Children's Foundation.

"Interesting tales of his experiences...covering the craziness of music festivals from the EMS perspective...funny stories that ring enjoyable read about a little known aspect of the EMS experience." Peter Canning, author of Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine, and Rescue 471: A Paramedic's Stories

"Author Jim Bollenbacher flawlessly compiled stories from fellow first responders that showcase the unpredictability of working in the field and display a remarkable sense of compassion for patients. Packed with hilarity, reflections of personal growth, off-the-wall encounters, and medical/EMS tidbits, this is one book that won't disappoint." Kerry Hamm, author of Real Stories From a Small-Town ER series.

"This book will open your eyes! Jim Bollenbacher, a kind, formerly straight-laced attorney and corporate management leader shares his “retirement” as an Event EMT in jaw-dropping fashion. I laughed out loud in between gasps of astonishment at each story. Do yourself a favor, read about “this side” of the event/concert world. You’ll laugh at, learn from and feel deeply grateful for Jim and his peers’ experiences." Melanie Goldish, Author of How Was Your Day Baby, and Founder of SuperSibs

Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I grew up in a small town in Western Pennsylvania.  I always wanted to be an FBI agent, so I went to Indiana University of Pennsylvania and majored in Criminology, thinking that was the route to the FBI.  While there, I met an FBI agent who was a complete jerk and turned me off of that career.  So, I went to law school at The Dickinson School of Law, now part of Penn State University, in central Pennsylvania.  It was there I met my wife Sandy.

I started my career in Pittsburgh but have moved first to Lafayette IN and now the Chicagoland area.  We have two daughters and two cats.  Despite the moves, we remain avid Pittsburgh Steeler fans.

What inspired you to author this book?

I noticed the reaction I got when I talked about the things I experienced while working at music festivals and thought others might enjoy hearing about the craziness that can go on. I had read other books where authors compiled stories about the ER or 911 calls and enjoyed them, so that was the model for what I intended the book to be.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book's cover?

I really wanted the cover to reflect the energy and vibe of the music festivals that I have worked.  In addition to some craziness, these festivals are vibrant and alive with energy.  The mood is very positive, and there is a great culture of compassion and inclusion. It's what I like the most about working at them.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

Kerry Hamm's books on stories from an ER were the model for my book when I started.  But Peter Canning and Keven Grange have written great books in this space that included more personal reflections.  I ended up adopting a little of both types of writing.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

As a lawyer and paramedic, my writing style was much more focused on being fact-oriented, as in "just the facts ma'am." My very early drafts of stories were more like incident reports than stories.  My wife continued to give me feedback to tell more of the story, set the scene, be descriptive.  That was not natural for me.  Fortunately, some of the contributors to the book had that style, and I was able to see it in a context I understood.  My editor also helped me quite a bit.

Tell your readers about your book.

The book is a compilation of stories about experiences that my colleagues and I have had taking care of patients at music festivals.  They are loosely organized into topical chapters and connected by some medical or music festival "factoids." Those factoids are things that I learned as a paramedic that the general public might not know.  I also use some of the stories to tell of my transition from a pretty conservative button downed lawyer and business executive to a fun-loving, more relaxed festival medic.  The book is mostly lighthearted, intended to entertain readers who may not have been aware of this side of music festivals.  Readers will laugh, cringe, and maybe even gasp as they learn of some of the situations in which we find ourselves as we respond to calls for assistance.

Who is your target audience, and why?

I think this book has a broad appeal.  For sure, people who are interested in medical issues will like it, so anyone in healthcare or thinking of a career in healthcare.  I also think those who attend the festivals will be interested as it is a side of their experience they don't usually see.  And finally, people who are contemplating a career change, or a new direction in their life will enjoy the story of my 180-degree change in career.

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

It is a funny, entertaining read that goes behind the scenes of a big part of our culture and shares stories about dedicated first responders in a very unique setting

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My wife and I raised two daughters who are successful, independent, compassionate adults committed to fairness and equality for everyone. They have taught me much in the process.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

My background as a lawyer is unique, for sure. And I have daughters who have experienced the music festival scene about which I write.

How do you overcome writer's block?

I didn't have too much trouble with writer's block, but when I did, I walked away from writing and refocused on something else.  When I came back, I was usually able to find my place and have more clarity in what I wanted to say.

What one piece of advice do you have for new authors.

Find the right editor.  First, have an editor, but also find the right one.  There are many good ones, but the best one is the one that fits your personality, the way you work, and understands the book you want to write, rather than the one they think you should write

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

Writing this book with a cause in mind has made the process so much more meaningful.  I started with no expectations of selling books to anyone other than friends and family.  But with a great charity as the recipient of the book's proceeds, I now want to do everything I can to make the book the best it can be and to convince readers to buy it.