Following find an interview with author Daniel Weisbeck.
What is the name of the book, and when was it published?
Children of the Miracle, Published June 29th 2020
What’s the book’s first line?
The capital lobby hummed with the usual daily business and orderly activities of visitors with appointments.
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
Children of the Miracle is a dystopian tale similar to Andrew Niccol’s film Gattaca, exploring the consequences of unconstrained technology on civilization. The novel explores the dark side of an outwardly perfect world which appears to have solved the issues of human vulnerability to disease by genetically engineering a new species. The new race, part human and part animal DNA, open up more complicated questions around Society’s tolerance for diversity.
My novel revolves around a futuristic world where humanity, nearly extinct after a pandemic, lives isolated in three Sanctuary cities across the globe. The story follows Doctor Mercy Perching, who receives a terrifying message from the Sanctuary of Americas. They have discovered a new strain of the FossilFlu virus which could cause a second pandemic and end all life on earth. After one hundred years of isolation, the Sanctuary of Americas invites Mercy to be the first person to enter their city and help find a cure to the disease.
When Mercy arrives, she is shocked to discover the Sanctuary of Americas is a utopian world where they have reclaimed nature and genetically engineered a new species of humans to be immune to the original virus strain. However, the Chimera, part human and part animal, are revealed to Mercy as the host of the virus mutation. And some citizens of the Sanctuary want them eradicated. Mercy finds herself caught in the middle of a moral war over the new species, and the cure to the virus is the key to their fate.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
I was inspired by the speed of scientific advancement in genetic engineering and how it is our ethical boundaries and not the limitations of science that are driving our decisions on what’s possible in human genetic modification. Also, as a gay man, I’m very interested in issues of tolerance. So, I wanted to explore a world where diversity explodes into unlimited possibilities at the hands of humans, and yet society still struggles with tolerance of diversity.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
Read Children of the Miracle as an escape into a thought-provoking genetic future and a great adventure into a dark sci-fi world.
What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?
Doctor Mercy Perching is a female protagonist whose strength is her superior intellect rather than physical strength. She is defiantly self-reliant but is also a real person who has moments of fear and doubt. She also has a genetic condition called heterochromia (one blue eye and one brown eye).
Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
Charlize Theron, her movie characters are both physically strong and intelligent and she carries herself in a feminine yet powerful manner. I j’dore her.
If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?
Saoirse Ronan as Doctor Mercy Perching, and Jake Gyllenhaal as Doctor Chase (half-man, half-canine). Saoirse looks as I imagined Mercy Perching and her character in Hanna was one of my all-time favorite heroines. Jake has puppy dog eyes and the same vulnerability and strength of Doctor Chase, part man and part canine.
When did you first decide to become an author?
I got serious about writing a book about two years ago after I started Children of the Miracle. Then about a year ago, I quit my senior position in a tech company to finish the book and give this author stuff a real go. It’s been humbling, challenging and rewarding on levels I never imagined. I have much more I want to write and plan to keep learning and improving my craft.
Is this the first book you’ve written?
Yes, the first book I’ve finished. Although it’s only one of a million book ideas I’ve jotted down over a lifetime, and one of a dozen I started.
What do you do for work when you’re not writing?
I’ve led marketing for tech companies in software for over 20 years.
How much time do you generally spend on your writing?
I write about two to three hours a day during the week and take the weekends off. Keeping a regular working pattern helps me not procrastinate, which I find easy to do with writing.
What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?
Hardest part of being an indie is marketing your book, especially hard if you are a first time unknown author. There are so many books published every day and finding your audience in that noise is challenging. Marketing your book as an indie is a full-time job and can take a significant amount of time away from writing your next book. The best part of being an indie is the speed and ease of publishing your book and holding the first print version in your hand.
Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?
Probably, because I’m an unknown author and that makes launching a book very difficult. I would use a traditional publisher if they had a good track record and good connections for launching books in my genre.
Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)
Legacy motivates me. I would love to write a book people are still reading one hundred years from now. Even if they don’t remember me.
Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?
Aldous Huxley. I’m in awe of his brilliant mind and incredible talent at provocative and sensual storytelling.
Which book do you wish you could have written?