I'm taking a break from my usual kinds of posts today to interview Dr. Kristen Elise, the author of The Vesuvius Isotope.
Kristen is a scientist turned novelist who has brought her experience and training into her fiction. I hope you enjoy!
1. What is your novel about?
Thanks so much for the interview, John, and for letting your readers know about my debut novel! The Vesuvius Isotope tells the story of Katrina Stone, a scientist whose Nobel laureate husband was just murdered. Katrina's search for her husband's killer leads to a medical mystery initiated two thousand years ago by Cleopatra, and Katrina quickly learns that her husband's murder was only the beginning. To halt certain impending disaster, Katrina races through Italy and Egypt on a quest for the solution to Cleopatra's last riddle, the ancient remedy that comes to be called the Vesuvius Isotope.
The book is at its core a murder mystery, but it is laced with several non-fictional historical and scientific themes. I consider it more historical thriller than science or medical thriller, but certainly there are elements of both.
2. You’re a scientist. What is your specialty?
3. As a professor, when people ask advice about getting a degree, I usually tell them that they should get a writing degree if they feel they have to, but that it won’t necessarily help them with their writing career. Often it’s better to get a degree other than writing so they have something interesting to write about. As a specialist in a field, how do you think that specialty has helped you to create a writing career?
4. Has it limited you in any way?
5. Who are your favorite authors and are these people of science as well?
6. Who has inspired your writing professionally and personally?
7. You are also a traveler. In what way has this affected your writing?
8. What else can you tell us about your books and your life?
Ha! What a fun question. I actually have a series of posts on my blog entitled, "Most Over-Used Protagonists." I'll defer to this post to answer your question. As a scientist, my favorite cliche is the 22-year-old Supermodel Head of [name your department] at [name your world-famous hospital or research organization.] Because in reality, this woman doesn't exist. But on TV and in movies, she's everywhere! Readers, who is your favorite?
9. Okay, this question is just for me. I’ve been writing about television and movie mystery cliches. I was wondering if you had a favorite.
Kristen Elise, Ph.D. is a drug discovery biologist and the author of The Vesuvius Isotope. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, stepson, and three canine children. Please visit her websites at www.kristenelisephd.com and www.murderlab.com. The Vesuvius Isotope is available in both print (www.kristenelisephd.com and www.amazon.com) and e-book formats (www.amazon.com for Kindle, www.barnesandnoble.com for Nook, www.kobo.com for Kobo reader.)
When her Nobel laureate husband is murdered, biologist Katrina Stone can no longer ignore the secrecy that increasingly pervaded his behavior in recent weeks. Her search for answers leads to a two-thousand-year-old medical mystery and the esoteric life of one of history’s most enigmatic women. Following the trail forged by her late husband, Katrina must separate truth from legend as she chases medicine from ancient Italy and Egypt to a clandestine modern-day war. Her quest will reveal a legacy of greed and murder and resurrect an ancient plague, introducing it into the twenty-first century.