by Bruce Forciea
Publisher: Open Books
Publication Date: September 27, 2015
Genre: Medical Thriller / Science Fiction
Dr. Alex Winter, a brilliant biomedical engineer, teams with Dr. Xiu Ling, a beautiful Chinese scientist, to discover a revolutionary cure for cancer. But Tando Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest and richest drug producer, also has an interest in the cure, and when they discover that the treatment is flawed as recipients begin to die after four months, causing a media frenzy and a drop in Tando’s stock, they call upon their ‘Mercenary Soldiers of Medicine’ to maintain global domination.
“Alex! Wake up, Alex!”
Alex Winter catapulted out of his sweet somnolent state into a consciousness full of screams, rushed footsteps, and loud crashing sounds. It seemed as if an angry wild boar was rampaging through his apartment. Before he regained his wits, three men wearing ski masks and holding assault rifles bolted into the bedroom shouting in Chinese. In an instant, one man pulled him out of his bed, sprawling him on the floor. A sharp pain shot through his skull from banging his head on the nightstand on the way down, also sending the clock careening into the darkness. Within seconds the men yanked his arms behind him. Any thought of escape became futile with the feeling of cold metal handcuffs snapping around his wrists.
An even deeper darkness fell over Alex as one man yanked a cloth hood over his head. Struggling to breath, and hyperventilating, an electric pain shot through his body, as if the men were ripping his arms from their sockets as they hoisted him from the floor. Feet dragging behind him, and with desperate attempts to regain his balance, the men pulled him along the floor and out of the apartment. His girlfriend’s muffled screams faded into the background. He remembered glancing at the bedroom clock on its way to the floor. It read 2:12 am.
As the men forced him down concrete stairs, each step on solid ground lessened the painful pressure on his aching arms. The men seemed powerful, but he sensed fatigue after descending three levels, which made them shove him into a corner while they changed places. He could now bear most of his weight for the final descent of the remaining two levels.
The men shouted at each other as they threw him into the back of a van. More shooting pain, this time from his knees crashing onto the steel floor. The van’s squeaky doors slammed shut, enclosing him in a dark hopeless space. In a few seconds it lurched from side to side while speeding off into the damp, black China night. Alex worked to control the panic seeping into the cells and tissues of his body. Thoughts of his execution reeled through his mind. He wondered how much longer he would live.
Confusion and terror poured through his veins as he replayed the events of the past few months in an attempt to make sense of his abduction. China seemed to be a safe haven, but he now realized he should have exercised more caution during these past few weeks. Tando’s system of operatives extended their tentacles around the globe, including Beijing.
His body careened from side to side as he struggled to maintain some semblance of balance and to keep from banging his head against the steel walls. His futile attempts at counting the number of right and left turns with the hope that this wasn’t a one-way ride ended when the van jerked to an abrupt stop.
Q&A with the Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Sure, I am a college science instructor. I teach anatomy and physiology to allied health students, mostly nursing students. I am also a chiropractor and ran a successful clinic before teaching. Before that, I worked in electronics and built and designed digital circuits for a defense contractor.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
I’ve written a lot of materials for work but finished my first book, Unlocking the Healing Code (a non-fiction book about healing) in 2007. I had this idea about how all healing is connected rolling around in my head for a few years before sitting down to write the book. For example, I would see patients heal from seemingly disparate systems of healing like chiropractic, acupuncture, nutrition, homeopathy, and medicine. I thought there had to be an underlying mechanism that connected all forms of healing. So, I guess I would say that my writing began with that book.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
That’s a hard one for me since I really don’t have a favorite author. I think I have learned something from just about every book I have read (good or not so good). One author I consistently enjoy reading is Stephen King. I’ve read his stories for many years and I think he presents a nicely balanced story. Recently, I really enjoyed reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
Unfortunately, I don’t get to write fiction every day. I do have a few days during the week that I can write. This usually happens either in my home office or at a local coffee shop sometimes before, sometimes after work. I like to write when I’m in the mood to write. I never force myself, although I do have a fair amount of discipline when it comes to writing. Many times I get lost in a project and then make time for it. This might be getting up a bit earlier or staying up a bit later to finish it.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
I have a lot of experience working in alternative medicine during my years practicing chiropractic. I would often see results from alternative remedies such as vitamins and herbals. The big drug companies often ignored some of these treatments because they are not regulated by the FDA, which means there is not as much profit as there are with drugs. I wondered if big pharma did anything to dissuade people from using simple remedies.
So, I was driving home from work one day and there was this story on the radio about a researcher who used radio frequencies to kill cancer cells. I did a bit of research and found that there actually was a cure developed by a man named Royal Rife back in the 1930’s. Rife thought his cure was suppressed by a medical conspiracy. The same sort of thing happened to chiropractic up until the 1980s. I thought it would make a great story about finding a cure for cancer based on alternative medicine with an evil pharmaceutical company using secret agents to stop it.
6) What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
I think there is a nice balance of truth and fiction packaged in a fast paced story with twists and turns. I think what sets it apart is the flow. I think it flows really well. Although it is science fiction, I’ve kept the technical and scientific details to a minimum so they don’t interfere with the pace of the story.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Well, the main character, Alex Winter, has a few of the same characteristics that I have. This is one great thing about writing fiction, it takes you on a journey of sorts and allows you to explore different aspects of yourself. Alex, is a kind of a geeky nerd and is a dreamer like me. A few of the incidents in the book did happen to me in real life and there are a few things I’d like to do as well.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
There are some scenes in which the team of scientists work together in their startup space. I really enjoyed writing the dialogue between the different characters, having them play off of each other. There is also a scene where Alex runs away to Colorado and meets an eclectic group of people including a dwarf comic by the name of Tommy. That was a lot of fun to write as well. I actually came up with a set of jokes for Tommy that I ended up cutting from the book but filing away in case Tommy surfaces in another novel.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
First and foremost, I hope my readers are entertained. I also hope the story will get readers to think about the manipulation and control large companies exhibit on the public as well as the idea that there are valid treatments and cures in alternative medicine.
10) What are your hopes for this novel?
I am hoping that readers enjoy it and want to read more of my work.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
My next novel, Alan2, has just been submitted to my publisher (Open Books). This one is a cyber-thriller about an artificial intelligence scientist (with a certain amount of dysfunction in his life) who develops a way to combine the knowledge in the frontal lobes of his brain with a computer operating system. Besides artificial intelligence, the story contains elements of cybercrime, cults, hacking, and an international chase with a very dramatic conclusion. It’s kind of like a combination of the movie “Her” with Terminator’s Skynet and a completely different twist. I’m hoping readers will like the play on today’s concerns about artificial intelligence.
About the Author
Bruce Forciea is known for taking complex scientific concepts and making them easy to understand through engaging stories and simple explanations. He is an Amazon Best Selling Author and has written several books on healing and biology which include Unlocking the Healing Code, An Easy Guide to Learning Anatomy and Physiology and An eText of Anatomy and Physiology. The X-Cure is his debut fiction work. Dr. Forciea teaches Anatomy and Physiology for Moraine Park Technical College and Unitek College. Professional projects include writing and producing college science courses, producing digital media including over one hundred science videos, ebooks, custom labs and websites. His fiction writing draws on a diverse and eclectic background that includes touring and performing with a professional show, designing digital circuits for a defense contractor, treating thousands of patients while running successful chiropractic and wellness clinics and now teaching life science and wellness. Dr. Forciea lives in Wisconsin and loves writing during the solitude of the long Northern winters.
Link to The X-Cure on Amazon:
Facebook Author Page: