Tuesday, November 26, 2019

An Audience for Einstein by Mark Wakely

I am excited to introduce you to an awesome author, Mark Wakely and his book An Audience for Einstein. This book is very special in many ways. the first edition was published more than a decade ago and won numerous awards.
 Winner of the Following Contests
"2006 EPPIE Award Winner - Best Science Fiction Novel"
"First Place - 2003 Authorlink International New Author Award"
"Best Debut Novel - Fountainhead Press 2002/03 National Writing Contest"
"Finalist - Writemovies.com International Writing Competition, Spring 2003"
"Finalist - Dream Realm Awards, best science fiction novel 2005"

Now Mark has updated the book and published the second edition, which is available on Amazon.

Professor Percival Marlowe is a brilliant, elderly astrophysicist who's dying, his greatest achievement still unfinished and now beyond his diminished means.
Doctor Carl Dorning, a neurosurgeon, finally discovers a secret method of transplanting memories from one person to another, thanks to Marlowe's millions.
Miguel Sanchez, a homeless boy, agrees to become the recipient of Marlowe's knowledge and personality in this unorthodox experiment, enticed by Dorning's promises of intelligence, wealth and respect but dangerously unaware that his own identity will be lost forever.
What results is a seesaw battle for control of Miguel's body as Marlowe learns to his dismay what his lifetime of arrogance and conceit has earned him.  And when Marlowe stumbles upon the shocking procedure Dorning used in desperation to succeed, the professor does what he must to defeat Dorning and redeem himself at last.

Tell your readers a little about yourself -- where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
I grew up in a reasonably small town in Illinois, where the pace was deliberate in a comforting way, yet not too predictable. My hobbies included a steady “diet” of classic science fiction TV shows, which sparked my interest in the genre at an early age. I had an interest in all things scientific throughout high school and through my first year or so of college, and always assumed I would be an astronomer or biologist or some-such someday. It was when I took a few English classes only because they were required for graduation that I discovered something astonishing; I had an even greater interest in literature, particularly fiction writing. Science encourages discovery, of course; writing fiction does too. It's a more personal kind of discovery, fiction writing is, and like science discoveries that add to our understanding of nature, good fiction adds to our understanding of the human condition and can have just as a significant an impact on our lives.
What inspired you to write this book?
 The rapid, often unregulated advances in medical science that are beginning to alter what it even means to be human is a major issue hardly being discussed by the younger generations, yet it is those generations that will have to grapple with the consequences. I wrote An Audience for Einstein so that young adults can discuss and debate the pros and cons of “reengineering” humans once that's entirely possible. They'll need to make wise, informed decisions as to which changes are for the good and which take away too much of our freedoms, our individual choices, and those very things that make each of us unique.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

A book cover artist at DartFrog Books (my publisher) had the idea of “melding” Miguel and Marlowe. Without giving too much away, at times, Miguel's head falls back when Marlowe's memories come flooding back; the cover captures that moment perfectly.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
 My grandmother, Mildred “Muzz” Gorndt, one of the people I dedicated my novel to, had the most significant influence on me.  She encouraged me to keep writing even after I subjected her to some early and awful short stories as I struggled to learn the craft. Not just kind, I believe she saw more in my writing than the clichés and hollow caricatures all neophyte writers recycle in those first tentative steps, a potential that hinted at greater things to come. Without her asking me every time I talked to her if I've written anything new, reminding me of my desire to be a published author someday, I wonder if I would have achieved the success I've had without her.
 What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
 It's much too easy to get sidetracked when you're writing, mainly when you're writing something measured in months or years instead of days or weeks. The “life gets in the way” excuse is bedeviling because it's (sometimes) true, but the best way to push all else aside is to write something that demands to be finished, is so compelling that the distractions don't stand a chance. Like many writers, I’ve written a few “novels” that never made it past fifty pages or so, mainly because they weren't meaningful enough, didn't have enough heft or weight behind them to demand anything of me. Creating interesting characters who beg to have their fascinating lives told goes a long way in overcoming any obstacles life might throw your way.
 Now more than ten years after the release of your book, it is making a comeback. Where would you like to see your book go from here?
In the classroom and school libraries. It started down that path with some success then faltered. With this new edition, there's the opportunity now to see its potential fulfilled.
Tell your readers about your book.
An Audience for Einstein is a cautionary novel about the recent, troubling discoveries in medical science such as “designer” babies, human cloning, genetic editing of the human genome, and other breakthroughs that give us the ability to redirect the course of the human race, perhaps forever. It kick-starts the debate as to who should be allowed to decide which genetic changes should be made and which should be avoided if those changes truly improve our lives or debase them. It's also about abuse of power and abuse of the powerless. In some ways, it's similar to the novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, a novel perhaps even more relevant today than when it was written. There are also some deliberate similarities to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as the professor delves into his past life and discovers to his horror the realities of his reputation, which spurs him on at the end to make his noble sacrifice and redeem himself at last.
Who is your target audience, and why?
Young adults, although there are plenty of young-at-heart adults who would enjoy my novel. Besides having a young protagonist whom young readers can relate to, the novel puts his very existence very much in jeopardy throughout. Young readers like compelling “page-turners” too, you know.
If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?
It's an important story that needed to be told. Among the many great reviews, my novel has had, “thought-provoking” frequently appears, one of my primary reasons for writing the novel.
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
My three children and my marriage.
Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours, and how they make you the person you are today.
Learning to depend on yourself is the most important lesson I've learned. Expecting ever-greater things from yourself is another. The naysayers, the bullies, the skeptics, the mean-spirited, and the non-believers can't get to you, drag you down if you have faith in yourself and know in your heart what you can accomplish.
What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
An Audience for Einstein sets me apart. Too many young adult books published recently focus on the superfluous and titillating, all in the name of easy entertainment and book sales. It's no wonder the novels assigned to middle and high school students are often decades old; those novels aren't always so easy but offer something invaluable instead; they make you think and promote meaning classroom discussion.
Tell your readers anything else you want to share.
Please spread the word about An Audience for Einstein. It’s a worthy novel that middle and high school English and Language Arts teachers should know about, as well as public and school librarians.