Ina Park used to think she’d write a popular science book when she retired. Then in January of 2015, a traumatic event, her oldest son being hit by a car, caused her to think harder about how she prioritizes her time. While he is now healthy, she decided not to postpone working on important goals. Shortly afterward, Park also saw the call for the 2017-18 cohort of the AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science, which was focused on infectious disease – her general area of expertise. Now that Park has pitched her book, acquired an agent and a contract, and learned more about writing a book for public consumption, she sees many potential benefits to tackling this project now while her career is in full swing: it may open other doors for her, and she’s come to think that early or mid-career scientists can also be uniquely inspiring to people.