It is said that you should write what you know. But what if you don’t know?
I originally intended to write a medical drama but I was simply too uninterested to commit to the project. However after watching a documentary regarding the history of science, specifically an episode relating to the history of evolutionary theory, I had the idea for my first novel, Intelligent Design: Genesis.
The Intelligent Design series of books follow the activities of junior creature designer, Hudley Hodge, who works for a large planet design company based at the other end of the Arm of Orion. It was important to me to ensure that the book was not only entertaining, but also credible. I do not recall all of the different subjects that it became necessary to research, but they included the following;
DNA structure and function – I had not studied this topic since medical school as it has little relevance to my day-to-day practice, and it still interests me as little now as it did then. However the nature of DNA replication and function was extremely pertinent to the plot, particularly Professor Cranius Eikopf’s attempts to synthesise triple stranded DNA.
For the sake of clarity I would point out that the four nucleotide bases are not actually called, Grouchine, Zepponine, Harpine and Chiconine.
Average toad speed. You would be amazed at how difficult it is to find out the average hopping speed of the common toad. Ultimately I had to calculate it using available data relating to average toad size, density, average hop length and by devising an algorithm to compare toad biomechanics to those of the cheetah.
I shan’t bore you with the mathematics, but if the volume of a toad is π x (toad length)3 and one factors in toad density, ambient temperature and humidity, and draws direct comparison with the average 50kg cheetah, one comes up with an estimated 500-800 metres per hour on level ground.
This may seem rather moot but once I publish, I should hate to receive a string of one star Amazon reviews from irate amphibian biologists, lamenting my poorly researched and erroneous fire-breathing toad scene.
With regard to all things arcane, I usually bow to Fairfax’s superior knowledge. There seems to be no subject too bizarre to have touched upon his radar.
Interesting fact of the week; I recommend this one as an ice breaker at funerals.
Semen may remain detectable in a corpse for up to 2 weeks.