Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
It never should have been necessary to publish The Last Rose of Summer. The content should have been a scientific paper years ago. After years of efforts to see this discovery through the usual process of drug development in the US and several other countries, I finally had no choice but to go public. It will take several more books to describe everything I did and all the threats I faced.
Though this is a tragic tale, there is also hope within it. I have reason to believe that the clinical trials of the drug have been done in a developing country. To see the results, I had to commit to keeping this situation secret, which I would not do. Whatever they are, they’re apparently motive for murder.
I’m afraid not, even though “It’s the truth” is a defense. I had to get this published somehow, and lawyers gonna lawyer.
I started writing it in 2015. I actually tried to start writing it sooner, but the trauma at “Cleary” University, fictitiously named for the last woman burned as a witch in Ireland, had caused me to black out a lot of my memories from that time. However, in late 2015, my memories started coming back for an ironic reason.
When I started posting the story on the internet in pieces, I started getting sick and did not know why. It took months to find out why I was vomiting so much, in addition to a lot of other symptoms. Electromagnetic radiation poisoning affects human memory, so even as my short term memory dissipated, my blacked out long term memories of “Cleary” came back. The poisoning was meant to keep me from writing the book but ironically enabled me to remember nearly everything and write the story out.
Some memories are blacked out for good. At 21, I was new to such threats. Danger was much more traumatizing than it was later, when I became accustomed to it. (Yes, this is possible.) The events of my final months at “Cleary” remain something of a jumble, and I had to call my father to ask him what he remembered me telling him back then.
Although I hate that the book is necessary and that I was only able to start writing it in 2015, perhaps the timing was right; as one of my friends pointed out at that time, “If you’d done this ten years ago, nobody would have believed you. But now, with the opioid crisis, everybody knows about the drug companies,” to which I replied, “Yes, I know. That’s why I didn’t do it ten years ago.”
Subsequent attacks delayed the publication of the book and kept me from organizing it the way I would have if I had been healthy. I can be poisoned with neurotoxic radiation and still write serviceable line by line prose, but the higher level organization that goes into writing a normal novel wasn’t possible. I could restructure the book now that I’m better, but that would only cause another delay. The story is there, at least, and that’s going to have to do.
The first book covers the years 2000 to 2010, which is why it’s so compressed. If I’d written it like a normal novel, it would have been three books.
The second book, Abide With Me, which is mostly written, covers 2011-2016. At least one more book will be necessary after that. It will be called The Wild Bright Bird.
Everyone I talked to in publishing felt the first book should be a movie, and this is under discussion. Certainly the events of the subsequent books provide plenty of suspense for movies, though it somewhat spoils the effect that, at least for now, I’m still here.
I’m a huge fan of Sir Terry Pratchett. For years, he was the man in my life. I know that’s no way to talk about a married man I never met who lived on a different continent, but he made me laugh when I thought nothing would, and—not to put too fine a point on it— he went to bed with me every night. When there was precious little evidence around me, he always reminded me that some people actually care about other people. He was also a huge fan of cats, and CATS ARE NICE.
Anything that inspires me: Holocaust resistance literature, scripture from other faiths, the writings of St. Theresa of Calcutta and Thich Nhat Hanh and Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas. I also enjoy sci fi/fantasy like Game of Thrones.
I never intended to publish anything but scientific papers; now that I have to write “novels,” thank God writing was at least a hobby in the past. I’ve written poetry and short stories, which I generally keep to myself. Before The Last Rose of Summer, my only public forum writing was internet satire to help out my friends on their social media and blogs, usually not even under my own name. In their service, I’ve been everything from a mushroom to a dragon running for president.
Historically, I wrote at the intersection of too much caffeine and something upsetting me, resulting in satire. During the poisoning, I wrote when I could think straight.
Don’t discover a drug Big Pharma doesn’t want. If you do, take the bribes. Do not under any circumstances write a book about it. That is very bad for your health.
“B37” is not the real name of the cultured tumor cell line mentioned in the cover copy, nor was it derived from pancreatic cancer. This is the only fictionalized part of the science in the book.