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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

a child to be a weapon of mass destruction - Sarina, Sweetheart by Megan Carney

Her name is Sarina Wocek. Her breath is poison. She was not born out of love.
Twenty-three years ago, government officials traced the budding epidemic of hemorrhagic fever HF186-2A in south Florida to the Wocek family and their adorable six-week-old daughter, Sarina.

Description:

Published: March 5th, 2015 

Her name is Sarina Wocek. Her breath is poison. She was not born out of love.

Twenty-three years ago, government officials traced the budding epidemic of hemorrhagic fever HF186-2A in south Florida to the Wocek family and their adorable six-week-old daughter, Sarina. Her father, Gregory, admitted his role in genetically engineering a biological weapon with pride. She was taken to a lab hidden in a rural area of New Hampshire. She hasn’t left since.

Her government keepers could cure her, but they won’t. Genetically engineering a child to be a weapon of mass destruction, that’s unethical. Refining a weapon of mass destruction that someone else created? That’s just being clever.

After twenty-three years of captivity, she escapes. She crosses an ocean to put her father and the lab behind her, but it’s not enough. When she sees the first bleeding sore, she knows she didn’t leave the virus behind either.

The only way she’ll be free is by destroying every trace of the lab. She only has one advantage; she doesn’t care if she makes it out alive.

GUEST POST
My personal, arbitrary rules for research

The first rule of research is don’t talk about research. Okay, I’m exaggerating. What I mean is that fiction readers don’t want to read an academic paper. They picked up a novel. So when you’re writing, you need to weave your hard-earned knowledge in without interrupting narrative. This means you will probably learn a lot of cool things that will never make it into your book. That’s okay. You’ll be the star of your next cocktail party. When I was researching Sarina, Sweetheart, I read all how viruses were named and how they measured mortality rates and… you get the point. Only a fraction of it made it into the book.

The second rule of research is you can’t do it all once. I do research in stages. During the first stage, I’m reading to understand general concepts. For this novel in particular, I read about viruses. How does a virus reproduce? How does the body recognize that one virus is different from another? Why does the Ebola virus cause hemorrhaging? Then I write, and I come up with more specific questions. In Sarina, the lab builds a ‘trigger’ for the infection. That led me to research what makes a particular virus unique, because the lab wouldn’t want the virus to be triggered by accident. That’s where the research about coat proteins comes into the book. Viruses are so resilient because they change their coat proteins, which tricks the human immune system. It’s like a criminal changing costumes.

The third rule of research is to take advantage of people you know. Play the six degrees of separation game. You probably know someone who knows someone who knows something about the topic you’re researching. For my novel, the part I knew I absolutely had to get right was the medical stuff. The genetic engineering and virus stuff was in the background, but the reader is right there with Sarina when she fakes being under anesthesia. I wasn’t going to get away with hand-waving. I went to an anesthesiologist in my family who patiently answered all my questions. I probably didn’t get everything right, but I hope I came close. One thing from our conversations that really surprised me was the number of actual, real patients who resist anesthesia. They don’t take the pills because they’re afraid, or they don’t trust the doctor.

That’s the wonderful thing about research – discovering unexpected things. Next to the actual writing, it’s my favorite part. Most writers I’ve met feel similar. Curiosity and creativity go hand in hand.

About the author:
Megan Carney is an author, geek and amateur photographer living in the Twin Cities. She has ten years of experience in the field of computer security. Her previous short story publications include: ‘Flighty Youth’ in the Raritan, ‘Modern Mayhem’ in the Wayfarer, ‘Swing By Close’ in the Wayfarer, ‘Directions’ in the Bell Tower. ‘Swing By Close’ and ‘Directions’ both won first prize in the fiction sections of that issue. The Christian Science Monitor dubbed her self-published photography book, ‘Signs of My Cities’ as having “youthful zest.”

Her non-literary creations include: a robot to clean the bathroom tub, Zim and Gir costumes, No-Dig tomato stakes, StickFriend the bear bag hanger, and a burning coal costume so she could be Katniss for a night.


4 comments:

Debbie Joyce said...

This sounds interesting - horrifying, but interesting.

Juana said...

I would love to read this story. This is a new author to me.

Jan Lee said...

I've never read a story like this. Given this, I'd like to read this book. :)

Dan said...

This sounds like a very good story! Sarina seems like a good character. I hope that this is a big success!