An interview with Fiona Davis Best Selling Author on Advocacy on September 7, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
Photo credit: Kristin Jensen
Fiona Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of seven historical fiction novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including The Spectacular, The Magnolia Palace, The Address, and The Lions of Fifth Avenue, which was a Good Morning America book club pick. Her novels have been chosen as “One Book, One Community” reads and her articles have appeared in publications like The Wall Street Journal and O the Oprah magazine. She first came to New York as an actress, but fell in love with writing after getting a master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages and she’s based in New York City.
Please tell me a little about your background and what got you involved with awareness.
In 2020, at the age of 53, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. As a former journalist, I dove into the research surrounding the disease and interviewed many others with PD. I learned that a lot of people prefer to keep it a secret (often for very good reasons, like not wanting to be fired), and decided to be open about my diagnosis instead.
Photo credit: Deborah Feingold
Can you tell me more about your advocacy?
I helped create a bi-weekly zoom support group for women, which has been up and running for a couple of years now. I’m also on the Patient Council of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. In my work, I’ve written characters with Parkinson’s as a way of opening up a dialogue about the disease with readers. Finally, I take part in clinical trials as a way to help with research.
Photo credit: Deborah Feingold
What effect can your advocacy have on an individual with Parkinson’s awareness?
My hope is by writing about it in my fiction and speaking about PD at the author talks I give around the country, people who don’t have the disease can learn more, while those who do can feel connected and not alone in their struggle.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?
I feel that, in terms of awareness, PD is like what breast cancer was thirty or forty years ago, where no one spoke the words out loud—it was a secret to be kept. Today, breast cancer patients are making their voices heard, and we’ve seen major strides forward with research and treatments. I’d like to see the same thing happen for PD, and with people like Michael J. Fox taking the lead, we’re well on our way.
What events do you participate in?
I love attending the “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s” gala in New York City each fall, and, if I’m not traveling for work, I plan on doing the Parkinson’s Unity Walk next spring. I also hope to make it to the next World Parkinson Congress.
How can someone get in touch? What is your website?
My website is fionadavisauthor.com There, you can also sign up for my newsletter, which has all the latest author events and book news.
If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?
There has been so much going on with PD research and development these past few years. It’s an exciting time to be part of the Parkinson’s community, and I hope anyone with PD finds hope in what the future holds.