I never imagined I would be a writer. My father, a professor of history, was always writing his next book or chapter at the dining room table – files cards and hand-written notes scattered about. Writing was so cerebral – perfect for my older sister Kate who, in high school, wrote a book report on Homer’s Odyssey – as a ten-page poem! I was always on the move playing wiffleball and one-on-one football with my older brother and later hanging out on a ballfield or in the gym with my teammates. At seventeen, my father’s murder changed the trajectory of my life.
My dream of studying marine biology and swimming with sharks was buried in the chaos of that traumatic event. As my life began crashing in college, I sought help from a psychiatrist who helped me tame the demons that were haunting me. In that relationship I developed a new plan for my life – I would become a doctor and help others heal from traumatic experiences. After graduating from Tufts University, I attended Georgetown Medical school and finally trained as a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. When I finished my residency in psychiatry, I immersed myself in the clinical world of trauma working at Mclean Hospital on The Women’s Treatment Unit helping women deal with the devastating impact of sexual and physical abuse and domestic violence and then at the Victims of Violence Program at Cambridge Hospital treating abuse survivors as well as asylum seekers and victims of crime.
Neuroscience was beginning to explode when I was a young psychiatrist and I loved learning how traumatic events could literally change a person’s brain chemistry and discovering that some of those changes could be reversed with treatment. My earliest writings were on the neuroscience of post-traumatic stress disorder. At one point, shortly after my now 21-year-old twins were born, I surprisingly found myself sitting at my own kitchen table with papers and notes all around me writing a manual for trauma survivors called PTSD, Relationships and Brain Chemistry. Having the finished project was almost as thrilling as having the children sleep at the same time!
Teaching is in my blood (both parents were educators as is my younger sister, Nancy). I have lectured nationally and internationally on the neurobiology of post-traumatic stress disorder and the neuroscience of relationship and have a passion for spreading the knowledge that we are hard-wired to connect.
Writing has now become an integral part of my work and my life. My first edited book (with Lauren Slater and Jessica Henderson Daniels) was, The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women was published by Beacon Press in 2003. My second book (written with Leigh Ann Hirschman), Four Ways to Click: Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships, published in 2015 by Penguin, captured the work I have done over the past fifteen years studying the neuroscience of relationships and how essential supportive connections are to overall health and well-being. My blog post on Psychology Today, “Wired to Love” gives me an opportunity to write on a regular basis.
Fighting Time is my first attempt at writing about the personal and familial trauma of my father’s murder – a tragedy amplified by the wrongful conviction of my co-author, Isaac Knapper when he was just seventeen. I am deeply grateful that Fighting Time has found a home at Regal House Publishing and Pact Press and am hoping that our story helps people appreciate the urgent need to reform the American system of justice.
Pact Press is proud to bring you Fighting Time by Amy Banks and Isaac Knapper in the fall of 2021.