How did you come up with the story for The New Reality?
One major theme throughout my novel is the potential consequences of interfering with human DNA. While in medical training I saw firsthand how "gene therapy" directly led to the untimely deaths of young patients. Just like in my book, scientists conducted human studies without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. Though the studies were small-scale, it involved a deadly virus and gene manipulation, just like that described in The New Reality.
I also incorporate in The New Reality my frustration with America's current economic and political situation. Over 17 trillion dollars in debt, the vast expansion of government, increased taxes, higher unemployment and an unprecedented assault on our civil liberties all boggle my mind. Though fictional, the novel attempts to highlight some of the pressing issues we face as a nation.
Were you inspired by someone or something to write this novel?
Every time I read the news or watch something on the History or Discovery channel I'm inspired. The world has a wealth of information and endless stories to tell. The difficulty I have as a writer is picking just a few of them to elaborate upon in my novels. As a result, my house is inundated with piles of eclectic books with topics ranging from genetics all the way to megalithic structures of primitive man. I feel as if there is so much out there to learn, yet so little time to do it.
Can you tell us something about your favorite character in The New Reality?
There a many characters in the book, each with their own unique personalities, flaws and quirks. However, my favorite character is Alex Pella. Both cunning and charismatic, he heads the largest neuroscience department in the world. Although extremely successful, he yearns for something more out of life. He's unsatisfied with sitting behind a desk and going through the daily grind of life, no matter how successful that life may be.
I think many of us can relate to this feeling, and to Alex, in the novel. Though we all have achieved some success in our lives whether at home, work, or in the community, life finds a way of moving a little too quickly as we grow older. Just like Alex, many of us want to find something that will change the monotony of our lives or find a way to bring greater meaning to us or to others.
How did you come up with the biblical references in The New Reality?
Many parts of the Bible have both inspired and intrigued me. As modern science has begun to help confirm ancient biblical tales such as the great flood and the story of Sodom and Gomorra, I have begun to wonder how much more the Bible has to offer us. Could there be hidden messages within its pages or could there be even more profound warnings waiting to be discovered?
The Book of Revelation has especially piqued my interested. With stories of fire, brimstone and all other means of planetary destruction, I often wonder what particular catastrophic event is described in its pages—or more importantly, if it foretells of more than one apocalyptic event.
How do you overcome writer's block?
Though throwing my computer against the wall or opening a bottle of Jack Daniel's might be my first instinct, I deal with this problem in a much more pragmatic way. Usually by stepping away from the computer, doing something completely different or trying to better visualize what I am writing about has worked for me.
Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Yes, as my mother reminded me, it was back in 4th grade. I had written a short story for Thanksgiving about a turkey that would not gobble. Though comical to read now, it portrayed a turkey who kept quiet in order not to end up on the dinner table.
Which authors inspire you?
My favorite author is James Rollins. His books are well-researched and well-written. Plus, his characters are both believable and captivating. I highly recommend him. I also enjoy reading books by Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, and David Morrell.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Write what interests you. If there is a topic that really garners your attention, it will be easier to write about. For example, I don't think I could write a successful novel about the mating habits of the North American Caribou. On the other hand, a medical thriller fits my personality, my career, and my writing style much better.
Is there an excerpt from The New Reality you would like to share with the readers?
During an early scene in the book an entire town was euthanized by the government in fear that their disease would spread across the country. The final paragraph reads as follows:
"Modern science had failed them and all those afflicted with The Disease. There was no cure and more concerning there was no source. When science becomes man's God and science fails, all that is left is fear and irrationality. There was no reason to destroy this town and others like it throughout Turkey. The Disease had affected them all, even those not afflicted by it."
Is there a sequel?
Yes, I plan on making a trilogy. Just like in The New Reality, I again plan to incorporate high-concept ideas, ethical issues and political topics in them such as genetic cloning, lost civilizations, alternative energy sources and questions about human rights. I've already completed much of the research and am eager to start setting my thoughts down on paper.