Debunking myths on genetics and DNA

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meet My Character Blog Hop -- Skyler Donohue, from my forthcoming sci-fi mystery GENE CARDS

First off, I wanted to share Combining Genetics, Photography, and the Power of Smell: E.E. Giorgi Answers Her Muse, an interview with fellow author and bioengineer Anthony J. Melchiorri, in which I talk about genetics, photography and my forthcoming books Mosaics and Gene Cards. I really enjoyed answering Anthony's questions, and Anthony will be a guest here on Chimeras, too, to talk about his thriller Enhancement.

Now to the blog hop: I was tagged by Cindy Amhrein in the MEET MY CHARACTER BLOG TOUR. Cindy is a historian and fellow writer whose recently released book, Bread and Butter: the Murders of Polly Frisch tells the story of one of the first women to go on trial for murder in the rural town of Alabama, NY. Cindy and her co-author, Ellen Bachorski, put a lot of work into the book, and were literally "history sleuths" as they dug out trial transcripts and old documents to reconstruct Polly Frisch's story.

Cindy is also one of my most valuable beta readers, but that I'm keeping a secret before other writers "steal" her from me. ;-)

I like the idea behind this blog hop, Meet My Character, because it gives authors a chance to introduce their characters and the book they are currently working on. Since I've been talking plenty about Track Presius, the main character in my detective thriller CHIMERAS, I think this time I'll take the chance to talk about another character of mine, Skyler Donohue, who will be featured in GENE CARDS (to be released October 2014).

What is the name of your character? Is she fictional or a historic person?
EEG: Skyler Donohue is a Biothreat Agent from the fictional city of Liasis. She investigates all crimes that fall under the "biothreat" category, including pathogens (whether natural or manmade), biological weapons, and anything that could be used in a bioterroristic attack.

When and where is the story set?
EEG: The story is set in the city of Liasis in 2056, in a society that is ruled by wi-fi technology and genetic identification. Different law enforcement agencies compete with one another for turf, and mutual mistrust is the norm. Every person is under the radar, making hackers and those who manage to fall off the grid the best criminals of the century.

What should we know about her?
EEG: Skyler was born in 2024 and raised by an abusive mother, from whom she fled when she was 16. Forced to make her way through society on her own, Skyler learned the hard way to always stick for herself. Her quaint fascination for cadavers -- likely a consequence of being sick all the time when she was a child -- prompted her to seek a career in law enforcement.

What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?
EEG: Skyler's main conflict is a woman, Yulia Szymanski, a murderer, and one of the most wanted hackers of the century. Szymanski has been dubbed the "DNA chameleon" because of her ability to hack into the country's super secure genetic database so that every time her DNA is found on the scene a new ID -- never hers -- turns up in the system.

What is the personal goal of the character?
EEG: Her main goal, at first, is to find Yulia Szymanski and bring her to justice. As the story unfolds, though, a new deadly pathogen randomly strikes people in the city of Liasis. Skyler, given her background, feels that she's the best person to be put on the new task force, yet her line manager excludes her from the investigation. So, as she keeps tracking down Szymanski, she also fights the higher forces in her own agency who want to keep her in the dark about the new investigation.

Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
EEG: The title is Gene Cards and I have a page up on Goodreads, where you can read the blurb and also enter a giveaway for two signed ARC copies of the book. Hurry up, the giveaway ends August 20! :-)

When can we expect the book to be published?
EEG: I'm hoping to release the book this coming October. Anyone interested can sign up for ARC copies (e-books I'll be sending out to early reviewers) here.

Here is the blurb:
When the cure for some means death for others, how far will you go to save your own?

Yulia Szymanski is a murderer and one of the best hackers of the century. Her mission: break her brother out of a high security jail before he dies of a rare genetic condition. On her trail is Biothreat Agent Skyler Donohue, a decorated Muay Thai fighter with a strange fascination for corpses. The obstacle to overcome: an invisible, deadly disease that strikes at random and has the city of Liasis locked in a bioterrorism siege.

When the latest to fall ill is Skyler's best friend's daughter, Skyler wants to drop the Szymanski case to chase the baffling pathogen that nobody is able to isolate. What she doesn't know is that finding Yulia is the only way to stop the epidemic and save the child's life.

In a world where identities are based on gene cards, and privacy no longer exists, survival is only granted to the rich, the healthy, and those who've learned to become invisible to the system.
And here are the awesome authors who accepted my invitation to join along. Stop by and visit them when they post on August 11th!


  1. What a fun blog hop! Skyler sounds like such a strong character. And the book she's in will be out as soon as October? How exciting! :)

    1. Thanks, Heather! Ooh, I could've tagged you too. Wanna play?

    2. Would love to! Just responded to your email... :)

    3. I just added you! Details in your inbox... :-)

  2. I read this when you first posted, and meant to come back to comment. @@ I can't wait to read. She sounds intriguing.

  3. Can I say I beta read this one? Well I am so there. It was a great read, and all the characters are quite unique. Lots of twist and turns and it made you wonder... who really were the bad guys....or the worse guys.

    1. Of course you can, I just said it up there that you're one of my most trusted betas! :-)


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