Posted by: Joseph Dixon | August 13, 2013

Why did I write this novel?

I am a biologist at Rutgers University and after 25 years of scientific writing, I needed to try writing that was less constrained and allowed my imagination to take off.

Writing for Scientific articles is extremely laborious and restrictive.  One must keep to the facts and observations and it is frowned upon to express opinions.  Before being accepted for publication, articles are peer-reviewed by at least two other scientists and they can request that you remove excess discussion or “tone down” conjecture.  Therefore, having a different avenue for expressing ideas, opinions and feelings is definitely uplifting for me.

Also there are issues that are raised in the novel that I wish to explore.

In a previous post I addressed “The underlying drive for the scientific endeavor” and I described three aspects of this (albeit succinctly).

Other topics approached and incorporated in the novel are:

1)  The science in “Search for the Garden” is real – it is CSI but reality based.   What I mean by this is that what we do in the lab to identify chemicals in samples is a little more complicated than what is shown on CSI on TV.  Never-the-less, it is extremely cool and the hard part is describing it without being techno boring.  Having to analyze the paint of a masterpiece painting is a vehicle for explaining our capabilities on a more interesting level – I hope.

2) Oil paintings utilize oil paint (primarily linseed oil) and I am a oil/lipid chemist – so I know about this topic!   In addition I was able to research historical incidents of forgery and how the forgers manipulated materials to achieve a certain effect.

3) And the book is not a police/detective story per se.  It primarily involves an academic scientist.   And it is it is not bloody or violent and it does not involve a serial killer!   If you wish to read about macabre crimes, this is not the novel for you.


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