Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 7, 2017

Book Giveaway – Water In May

Author Ismee Williams debut novel WATER IN MAY is coming out on September 12th. You can pre-order on Amazon. She has agreed to give one lucky winner a copy. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


Fifteen-year-old Mari Pujols believes that the baby she’s carrying will finally mean she’ll have a family member who will love her deeply and won’t ever leave her—not like her mama, who took off when she was eight; or her papi, who’s in jail; or her abuela, who wants as little to do with her as possible. But when doctors discover a potentially fatal heart defect in the fetus, Mari faces choices she never could have imagined.

Surrounded by her loyal girl crew, her off-and-on boyfriend, and a dedicated doctor, Mari navigates a decision that could emotionally cripple the bravest of women. But both Mari and the broken-hearted baby inside her are fighters; and it doesn’t take long to discover that this sick baby has the strength to heal an entire family.

Inspired by true events, this gorgeous debut has been called “heartfelt, heartbreaking and—yes!—even a little heart-healing, too” by bestselling YA novelist Carolyn Mackler.


The journey of my debut novel, WATER IN MAY, starts with how I went from being a physician to being writer. It began in March of 2010 when I ended up on bedrest while pregnant with my third baby. I had been on bedrest with my prior two pregnancies (luckily all three children were born on time without complications), but with my first pregnancy, I was in the middle of getting my Masters in Biostatistics and continued my coursework from home. With my second, I was writing grants as well as manuscripts for my medical research. But in 2010, I had submitted a large grant and was waiting to hear back. The studies I had been running were closed to enrollment and the data had been processed. I had time on my hands. I picked up a YA novel. And my life changed.

The story affected me and made me want to write more than just for medical journals. I wanted to create fiction that would do for someone else what that book had done for me. During the three months before my daughter was born, I wrote a draft of a YA manuscript. I spent the next four years editing and shopping it, and learning as much as I could about the literary world. I took advice wherever I could get it. I submitted scenes from my manuscript to every contest imaginable and even agreed to judge for some of them. I remember sitting on my couch hooked up to the breast pump, a blue felt-tipped pen in one hand and stacks of paper entries in my lap as I painstakingly followed the scoring algorithm’s sent to me. I went to writers’ conferences when I wasn’t working at the hospital or with my kids. I even hired an independent editor as I was desperate for feedback and direction.

The responses I received for my first work in progress were encouraging. But no one wanted it. I had heard countless times that many authors’ first works rarely get published. But I didn’t want to believe it. Yet as I left my fourth SCBWI winter conference with the information that what I had written wasn’t selling anymore, I knew I had to make a change.

The idea for WATER IN MAY had come to me years before I actually sat down and wrote it. I was so invested in my first work at that time I wasn’t ready to abandon it. But once I decided to try something new, I finished a draft in a little over three months. It helped that I had received great instruction from SCBWI’s Lin Oliver on how to outline (something I didn’t do with my first attempt). And I had been thinking of my main character for a long time. I had a firm grasp of her temperament, flaws and goals. I knew exactly how she would act in any given scenario. Mari is strong. Stronger than me. She didn’t let me get away with anything.

Another factor that influenced my journey was my writing group. Just before I started my draft of what was to become WATER IN MAY, I underwent a transition in my day job. The flexibility allowed me to commit to something I had always wanted to do. I logged onto the SCBWI members’ site and located critique partners in my area. Being part of such a warm and supportive group of writers, half published and half pre-published, was instrumental. In addition to offering valuable advice regarding the manuscript itself, my group helped with query letter edits and suggested agents and other conferences to attend. I benefited greatly from their collective experience. One of my concerns was whether I would be able to query the same agent for a different work in progress. The answer was a resounding YES! I still ended up reaching out to over fifty agents before receiving an offer of representation from the amazing Jim McCarthy. I signed with him in October and by February we had a book deal!


Ismee Williams is a pediatric cardiologist who trained and practiced at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City for 15 years. She is the daughter of a Cuban immigrant and was partially raised by her abuelos (grandparents in Spanish). Her background helped her understand the many Maris she met along the way. Water in May is her first novel.

She lives in New York with her husband and three daughters as well as a dog who is commonly mistaken for a muppet. You can read more at and can be found on Instagram and Twitter at @IsmeeWilliams

Thank you Ismee for sharing your book, its journey with us, and participating in the book giveaway. Wishing you much success with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Ismée, it’s amazing the twists and turns to publication, isn’t it? Thanks so much for sharing your journey and a BIG CONGRATS on WATER IN MAY! 😀


  2. This book looks amazing, thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. I have also tweeted about the giveaway.


  3. This sounds like a wonderful story and given the author’s background I have very high hopes for it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    For extra credit I tweeted a link:, and pinned an image on Pinterest with a link: Happy Thursday everyone!


  4. I would so love to win this! Seems very interesting and I love the cover.


  5. I am so in awe of new authors. Thanks for the giveaway.


  6. Can I get that one free copy? I really want to read the book. Ismee’s medical background makes the book seems more interesting.


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