Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Please Welcome Wil Mara, Author of The Gemini Virus

Omnimystery News: Guest Author Post
by Wil Mara

We are delighted to welcome novelist Wil Mara as our guest.

Wil' second "disaster" thriller is The Gemini Virus (Forge Books, October 2012 hardcover, preloaded digital audio player, and ebook formats).

Today Wil tell us "there is nothing in this story that can't actually happen", a very scary notion, indeed!

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The Gemini Virus is about a supervirus that appears out of nowhere and then begins burning through the human population — first in the American Northeast, where it begins, and then the rest of the world — in record time. The CDC, WHO, and all other healthcare agencies are unable to stop it, mainly because it's something new; something they've never seen before. It quickly crystallizes into the granddaddy of all pathogens, impervious to all medications and killing its victims in a matter of days. And the agony each victim endures is truly horrifying. To that end, I should warn all of you that there are some very graphic passages in the book. However, I'd also like to emphasize that these grisly scenes were not included purely for their dramatic punch — the symptoms illustrated in Gemini are based in real illnesses. Thus, there is nothing in this story that can't actually happen.

Let me say that again — there is nothing in this story that can't actually happen.

Wil Mara
Photo provided courtesy of
Wil Mara

I'd like to discuss this point — the realism of Gemini — for just a moment. As is the case with so much fiction both past and present, the reader is usually afforded some kind of contemptible "comfort zone", borne from the knowledge that the scenarios they're following can't actually happen. Regardless of how disturbing a story might be, a reader can usually settle their nerves simply by thinking, Yeah, scary — but at least it's not real. I want to strip that away with all the books in my disaster series. Yes, the situations will always be fictional — but they will also always be possible. And once the setup has been established, I like to have things play out in a realistic manner. Thus, even though these disaster stories are the production of my imagination, the events that unfold are about as close to reality as you'll find in modern fiction.

For example, the first book in group, Wave, was about a tsunami striking a small barrier island on the East Coast. I told my editor I wouldn't write it unless I could find a way to make the science credible. So the question became, could a tsunami really occur in the Atlantic Ocean? After lengthy discussions with a veteran oceanographer from NOAA, we determined that yes, it absolutely could. Once that hurdle was past, I was off and running (or off and writing, you might say).

Same deal with Gemini. I got together with a tremendously talented virologist — an author in his own right, longtime college professor, and former student at both Harvard and MIT — and we determined that a pathogen like the one portrayed in The Gemini Virus was not only possible, but likely. In fact, I have since learned, such a pandemic situation is long overdue.

Just think about that while you're reading Gemini — those same grisly scenes could one day, in the not-so-distant-future, play out in your own state, your own town, and even in your own home. Really, really think about that.

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Wil Mara has been writing books since 1988. He started with a manuscript about herpetology (a childhood hobby), which led to a job as an editor with TFH Publications, aka, "The World's Largest Publisher of Animal Books". In the mid '90s, he left TFH to work for Harcourt-Brace, at which time he began his first foray into fiction, ghostwriting a title for Albert Whitman and Company's popular "Boxcar Children Mysteries". By the time he did his fifth "Boxcar" in 1999, he was also editing for textbook publisher Prentice Hall.

You can learn more about the author and his books on his website, WilMara.com.

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The Gemini Virus by Wil Mara

The Gemini Virus
Wil Mara
A "Disaster" Thriller

First you sneeze. Then you die.

Bob Easton thinks he has a cold. Before he dies in agony, four days later, he infects dozens of people. Local health agencies become quickly overwhelmed by the sick and dying and beg the CDC for help. Dr. Michael Beck and Cara Porter, a member of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, race to identify the deadly bug. They can't cure it until they know what it is.

Dennis and Andi Jensen and their children are terrified. Schools and offices close. Fresh food disappears from store shelves. Three of their children's friends die. Their neighbors are dying or running away, fleeing the unstoppable infection. Desperate, the Jensens join the exodus, making a nightmarish journey to their isolated mountain cabin along empty roads, through abandoned towns, past looted shopping malls.

The superbug — and the panic — quickly spreads beyond America's borders. On a packed plane, someone coughs — and at their destination, the pilots are told, "you can't land here." US military bases are quarantined. Yet the virus continues to spread. Some believe the plague is man-made. Others see it as a sign of the end times.

In the lab, Cara Porter makes a potentially fatal mistake. In the mountains, Andi Jensen tells her husband that she doesn't feel well.

The world is running out of time.

Amazon.com Print and/or Kindle Edition  Barnes&Noble Print Edition and/or Nook Book  Apple iTunes iBookstore  Kobo eBooks  Indie Bound: Independent Bookstores

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