Sarah Weiss, Executive Editor at Ballantine Books, on THE IN-BETWEEN & Working With Tik Tok Star Nurse Hadley
Sara Weiss, Executive Editor, Ballantine Books talks about her experience working with Hadley Vlahos, RN for her debut memoir THE IN-BETWEEN: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments, a heartrending book that shows how caring for others can transform a life while also offering wisdom and comfort for those dealing with loss and providing inspiration for how to live now. In THE IN-BETWEEN, Vlahos recounts the most impactful experiences she’s had with the people she’s worked with—from the woman who never once questioned her faith until she was close to death, to the older man seeing visions of his late daughter, to the young patient who laments that she spent too much of her short life worrying about what others thought of her—while also sharing her own fascinating journey.
In a Q&A, Sara talks to us about her experience with Nurse Hadley, who this book is for and how she celebrates once she’s completed editing a book!
How would you describe your experience working with Nurse Hadley?
I was in awe of Hadley when I first met her in the summer of 2022 and my admiration for her has only grown in the two years we’ve been working together. Hadley is a natural storyteller and a complete professional. She was determined to make this book as good a book as it could be and she worked with focus and determination to get there, all while having a third baby and continuing both her work as a hospice nurse and a social media influencer! The kind, genuine, giving person you see on social media is exactly the person Hadley is in real life and it was an honor to work with her on this book.
I’m not a particularly religious or spiritual person, but reading about Hadley’s experiences working with patients as they crossed over and the coincidences that often arose opened my mind to what the “afterlife” could be. More than that, I was surprised by how beautiful death can be, and I found a lot of comfort in reading about the peacefulness of so many of her patient’s passings.
I knew that Hadley’s storytelling was powerful, but it wasn’t until we started sharing the manuscript in-house that I realized how big of a readership this book could have. The in-house reads have been rapturous and I hear from people how moved they are by the book, how comforted they are, and that all they want to do is discuss it and talk about who their favorite patient was.
What writing qualities draw you to a book?
I love books with a strong, authentic voice and whose storytelling has something to offer the reader. With THE IN-BETWEEN, we not only get to read about Hadley’s extraordinary life and those of her patients, but every reader will learn something from reading this book that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Who is THE IN-BETWEEN for?
I honestly believe this book is for everyone, as death touches us all. It’s for anyone interested in end-of-life care, it’s for caretakers or people whose loved ones are nearing end of life or have entered hospice, it’s for anyone who has questions about death and dying, and it’s for those of us who are interested in the afterlife and what happens to us after we die. It’s also simply a good read – I’ve heard from many readers that they read it in a day because they can’t put it down.
What’s the first thing you do when you’ve finished editing a book?
Have a glass of celebratory wine!
Get to know Nurse Hadley in these TikToks below:
- Book-focused video about Hadley’s favorite patient – 1.7M views
- Book-focused video about the patient who inspired Hadley to write – 1.7M views
- Book-focused patient story – 504k views
- Book-focused patient story – 1.1M views
- Book-focused patient story – 230k views