Dr. J. Matthew Neal was born in Muncie, Indiana, the place he has resided a lot of his life. Though he has been a medical author for a few years, “Particular Gravity” is his first novel. As a doctor and residency program director, he has discovered loads of inspiration within the medical area for his fiction.
Tyler: Welcome, Matt. Thanks for becoming a member of me immediately. To start, I perceive “Particular Gravity” is a thriller with Dr. Alexander (Alex) Darkkin as its principal character. Will you inform us somewhat bit about Alex and why you suppose readers will discover him to be a gorgeous character?
Matt: Alex is an advanced man with plenty of issues, and at first most likely will not appear likeable to readers in any respect. He is a superb most cancers specialist who has additionally created his personal medical software program firm. He is handsome, good, and has money-but can also be an obnoxious, womanizing alcoholic who’s sad along with his superficial life and self-destructing relationships. He is tried remedy, AA, and faith, none of which appear to be working.
However he has a deeper facet that he does not but understand, and far of the story revolves round his self-reflection and realization that he can do a lot to assist these apart from himself. He simply wants a particular particular person to point out him the best way.
Tyler: Is Alex haunted by demons that led him to womanizing and alcoholism? Would you inform us somewhat bit about his previous earlier than the e book begins?
Matt: Alex felt he did not have an excellent paternal function mannequin; his father Conrad was an alcoholic who cheated on Alex’s mom on quite a few events. His sister left city after highschool and developed a relationship with a traditional, “surrogate” household (the Mendozas); in the meantime Alex stayed pretty near dwelling, and lives in Nashville. He by no means noticed his mother and father in a loving marriage, and because of this, finds it troublesome to interact in prolonged relationships. Regardless of seeming conceited, he really suffers from low shallowness and despair, and this has resulted in dependence on alcohol and frequent one-night stands.
Tyler: What’s the state of affairs Alex finds himself in that’s the focus of the novel?
Matt:Alex, hoping change of location will do him some good, relocates to San Diego for six months to fill in for his sister Wendy’s buddy who’s taking a sabbatical. After his arrival, he curiously inspects the recordsdata of a affected person who just lately died-billionaire pharmaceutical CEO John Markham. His software program background leads him to find that Markham’s medical information might have been altered, and he comes up with a concept that Markham might in actual fact have been murdered. Sadly, he can not seem to persuade the police or anybody else, and realizes he cannot do it alone. He then reluctantly seeks assistance from Wendy’s greatest buddy, Bonnie Mendoza.
Tyler: Inform us somewhat bit about Bonnie and her involvement within the story.
Matt: The conceited Alex lastly meets his match in deaf forensic scientist Bonnie Mendoza-a mathematical and lexical genius who inherited from her mom the uncommon neurological trait “synesthesia,” which suggests, actually, “a union of the senses.” She sees numbers and letters as colours, for instance. Dwelling people have distinctive colours and smells as nicely. These odd sensory perceptions permit her simply to control phrases and numbers.
Her bodily incapacity has compelled her to exceed in different methods, additionally. Like her different relations, she is a gifted athlete. She cares deeply about sick and disabled kids, and she or he steadily performs for charity as stage magician “Mendoza the Miraculous.” Her mathematical powers permit her to carry out wonderful mentalist tips, however she is greatest recognized for being an escape artist who has develop into considerably of a neighborhood celeb. The final capability is extraordinarily vital within the plot of the story.
The seemingly excellent Bonnie has many flaws, though-she typically appears to lack widespread sense and makes rash selections. Like many sturdy synesthetes, she has perceptual problems-she can not inform left from proper, for instance, and has poor path sense. The geeky, mild-mannered scientist has a foul mood, is just about fearless, and might be deadly to anybody who tries to hurt her. Her coaching as a forensic scientist has given her the information of methods to use weapons most successfully. However, regardless of these talents, she has an virtually childlike, naïve high quality, and Alex turns into strongly interested in her.
Tyler: Wow, she seems like fairly a personality. The place did you get your concepts for Bonnie, and the way do her talents improve the novel’s plot?
Matt: Alex is an conceited blowhard who all the time needs his means, and I wanted a powerful feminine character who can take something he dishes out and throw it proper again at him. At first, they’ve sturdy disdain for each other, however, paradoxically, this power finally attracts Alex to her, and so they develop an unlikely relationship. She appears, on the floor, fairly totally different from Alex, however we quickly study that they share many tendencies.
As well as, I’ve lengthy been a fan of magic and escapology, and wished to characteristic a personality who used these talents within the story. To my information, different feminine escape artist characters within the in style media are fairly nonexistent.
Alex is a talented doctor and software program engineer, however does not perceive the intricacies of forensics and police work, and desires Bonnie for that. As well as, her talents are vital in fixing a number of puzzles and getting them out of quite a lot of tight conditions.
Tyler: Inform us somewhat bit about Alex’s sister Wendy, who seems to be an vital character within the story.
Matt: Wendy is Alex’s youthful sister by two years, and can also be a doctor. The extroverted, plus-sized pediatrician moved to San Diego after highschool to attend faculty. She started volunteering at a pediatric rehabilitation heart, the place she met wiry deaf teen Bonnie Mendoza. Over time, the 2 developed a particular friendship, and Wendy helped Bonnie enhance her shallowness and bodily power.
She is an avid charity fund-raiser who typically performs magic acts with Bonnie. She even has a neighborhood public entry TV present, “Dr. Wendy’s Science Squad,” which teaches kids about science and know-how. She is married and has one baby.
Tyler: I perceive “Particular Gravity” is categorized as a techno-thriller. Will you give us a little bit of a definition of a “techno-thriller” and clarify why this type of novel appeals to you?
Matt: Techno-thrillers are works of fiction the place “know-how” is, in essence, a personality within the story. They have an inclination to incorporate a considerable amount of technical element in material, and deal with the inside mechanics of science. A lot of the novel facilities on the detailed workings of computer systems, medical info programs, forensic science, and even magic tips. This style permits me to do what I love to do best-write in nice technical element about science and its inside workings.
Tyler: What difficulties do you discover in writing a techno-thriller? Do you’ve considerations about readers following the main points round know-how, and does know-how provide you with inventive license to create applied sciences and make them plausible to readers?
Matt: I feel one drawback is that it is attainable to incorporate an excessive amount of technical element. I’ve gone to nice bother to make sure the accuracy of the science and disciplines within the book-but I understand that some readers might not have the identical curiosity intimately as I.
Personally, I take pleasure in studying techno-thrillers the place I could not perceive all of the science and technology-this permits me to examine it elsewhere and study new issues. I feel, in a means, techno-thrillers could also be more durable to put in writing than different kinds of fiction, as a result of the science should be plausible. Consideration to element is a should, and requires lots of revision. The analysis takes virtually as a lot time as writing the e book.
Tyler: Are techno-thrillers a type of science-fiction, or do you see a distinction between them? Are techno-thrillers striving extra for realism, or a minimum of to seem real looking?
Matt: I feel there are lots of similarities between the 2 genres. To me, science fiction tends to discover scientific disciplines (similar to robotics, time journey, cloning, and so forth.) for its personal sake. Techno-thrillers are form of a hybrid of science fiction and thriller, often about espionage or a risk to society that the protagonists should remedy. There’s a subgenre of science fiction known as “laborious SF” the place there’s rigorous consideration to correct element within the quantitative sciences (similar to physics and chemistry). I feel there’s some overlap.
Each genres might be real looking, however I feel the principle distinction is the thriller/puzzle angle of the techno-thriller. The latter additionally might deal with societal and political points; “Particular Gravity” takes purpose at a few of these.
Tyler: What types of influences have you ever had in writing techno-thrillers? For instance, different writers or medical TV dramas?
Matt: I am really extra of a non-fiction reader than fiction. For fiction, my main influences have been Michael Crichton, Martin Caidin, Robin Prepare dinner, and Tom Clancy, all of whom go into nice technical element of their tales. I additionally learn lots of Isaac Asimov’s science fiction tales rising up. Though I take pleasure in watching medical TV dramas, they actually do not affect my writing.
Tyler: Why did you select the title, “Particular Gravity”?
Matt:”Particular Gravity” refers back to the bodily measurement of the relative density of a liquid to water. The thriller unfolds when the protagonists decipher a few of John Markham’s uncommon laboratory values, which leads them right into a heap of bother. I selected the title due to its significance within the story. It additionally sounds scientific and technical.
Tyler: Matt, I perceive you are a physician your self. How has your career lent to your curiosity in writing novels?
Matt: Properly, most physicians’ lives aren’t almost as thrilling as they’re portrayed within the in style media. Nonetheless, drugs provides one many plot concepts, and a big hospital provides a author entry to many fascinating folks. It is like a small metropolis, in a means.
Tyler: Why did you resolve to put in writing, “Particular Gravity”? Is there a message about our fashionable world within the e book that you simply have been making an attempt to specific?
Matt: As our healthcare info turns into an increasing number of digital, we should be sure that safeguards are current to guard these information and their attainable manipulation. My novel exhibits what may occur if malicious people tried to make use of that info for their very own evil achieve. These occasions, nonetheless unlikely, may occur.
However most real-world medical errors aren’t malicious in intent-they are merely errors, however errors that may value lives. We should rigorously study our personal healthcare supply programs to make sure that hospitals are the most secure locations on this planet.
The e book can also be a couple of egocentric, sad doctor’s journey to redemption-to attempt to do one thing for somebody apart from himself, to make the world a greater place. To succeed, Alex has to confront his demons, and likewise should face his biggest “second of desperation”-the chance of dropping an important factor in his life. Throughout these occasions, he finds inside strengths he by no means knew he had.
Tyler: Matt, would you inform us plot twists, or what you discover to be probably the most thrilling second within the novel?
Matt: There are various, and I do not need to disclose too much-but I feel some of the thrilling components is when Alex and Wendy uncover that the true villain is somebody who has been lurking proper beneath their noses all alongside. One other is Alex’s realization of what the homicide weapon is-something so weird that it is virtually incomprehensible.
Tyler: Would you give us an instance of how the novel is a techno-thriller? What sort of know-how is concerned within the plot?
Matt: There may be a lot element within the description of computer systems and medical informatics-the theoretical growth of a “quantum” pc, for instance. The bizarre homicide weapon additionally calls for a substantial amount of clarification. Bonnie’s forensic science techniques, similar to voiceprint, mathematical, chemical, and facial analyses, are explored intimately. Lastly, the intricacies of Bonnie’s escape artist tips most likely qualify as “know-how,” and are mentioned in depth.
Tyler: Matt, what made you first need to be a novelist?
Matt: I had wished to put in writing a novel for years however merely hadn’t discovered the time. Imagine me, it was much more work than I assumed it could be. The most effective a part of writing fiction to me is creation of characters-you could make them whoever you need them to be. It is enjoyable, but additionally lots of frustration and laborious work; some concepts merely find yourself within the trash can.
Tyler: I perceive you additionally write books for the medical area. Will you inform us somewhat bit about these works, and what challenges you discover in writing each fiction and non-fiction?
Matt: I’ve written three medical textbooks which have been utilized in conventional classroom settings. After I started writing a novel, I quickly realized that the teachings realized in medical writing do not essentially apply to fiction-it’s completely totally different. Every has its personal set of challenges. One similarity in a techno-thriller to a medical textbook is that each should pay meticulous consideration to element. However the construction and pacing of a novel is vastly totally different. I went to a number of writers’ conferences and took a number of programs on fiction writing, and I owe quite a bit to these instructors who critiqued my manuscript mercilessly!
Tyler: Do you see Alex as a recurring character in future novels?
Matt: I’m at present writing a sequel, “Ontario Lacus,” which is ready about three years from the top of “Particular Gravity.” Alex and Bonnie unwittingly uncover a professional sports activities steroid scandal that seems to be one thing far, far worse-one of the best scientific discoveries of all time has been perverted right into a authorities bio-genetic experimentation challenge. Bonnie should danger every little thing to avoid wasting the buddy who did a lot to assist her twenty years in the past.
So far as a long-term recurring character, I do not find out about Alex. A part of his motivation in “Particular Gravity” is conquering his private demons, which he accomplishes for probably the most half. He is appreciably extra mellow in “Ontario Lacus,” which is extra Bonnie’s and Wendy’s story than his. We’ll see.
Tyler: Thanks for becoming a member of me immediately, Matt. Earlier than we go, would you inform us your web site handle and what additional info our readers might discover there about “Particular Gravity”?
Matt: Additional details about the e book might be discovered on my web site, http://www.jmneal.com.
Tyler: Thanks, Matt. I want you plenty of luck along with your subsequent e book and hope you will be a part of us once more when it’s out there.
At the moment, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is happy to be joined by J. Matthew Neal, who’s right here to debate his new e book “Particular Gravity,” Dunn Avenue Press (2007), ISBN 9780615141374.