The X-Cure: Excerpt
"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.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Well, about 10 years or so ago I had an idea about how healing occurs so I began writing and blogging about it. After about a year of researching and producing copious notes, I decided to put it into a book which ended up becoming my first published work (Unlocking the Healing Code). I think I pretty much wanted to write a book for a number of years before that, but never felt I had the time. Since then I haven’t stopped writing.
What inspired you to write The XCure?
I have a lot of experience working in alternative medicine when I practiced chiropractic. I would often see results from simple 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 is in pharmaceuticals. 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 Royal Rife back in the 1930’s which he thought 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.
What is your editing process like?
I guess I would say that it is “layered.” This means that I work to get the story down on paper without worrying too much about editing. Then, I proceed to make several (sometimes many) passes through the book. I try to look at it from a different perspective during each pass. For example, I may look at the characters in one pass, overused words in another, pacing in another and so on. I try to take a break between each pass. After several passes I find that I’m making very few corrections and the manuscript is ready to submit to my publisher. For example, The X-Cure took something like 12 passes before I submitted it. One would think you would get tired going through the story so many times. I never did because I really love the story. After I feel the manuscript is ready, I’ll submit it and keep my fingers crossed. If they like the manuscript, they will assign an editor and we will go through it again making any needed corrections.
What was the most valuable thing you learned while writing?
That is a great question and I’d like to take a slight jog on that one if I may. I’d like to say that learning to write during my liberal arts undergraduate degree was the most useful skill I learned at that school. I use it every day in my work, for every email I send out and in countless materials I produce for the college courses I teach. I can’t stress writing enough to my daughter and students.
As far as what I’ve learned while writing I think it’s that the story will write itself if you let it. In other words, there is something magical about writing fiction. It really pulls you into another world. When I wrote The X-Cure, I began with an outline. When I finished, the story had gone in a completely different direction. I felt it pulled me in that direction. Writing really is a wonderful experience.
Did you set any writing goals for 2016? If so, what are they?
Yes, my 2016 goals are to continue to promote the X-Cure and to get my second novel, Alan2, published. I just submitted the Alan2 manuscript to my publisher, Open Books, and am hoping they like it. I’m also working on a few short stories and am submitting to magazines.
Are you working on something now?
Yes, I’m hoping my publisher likes Alan2. It’s a cyber-thriller about an artificial intelligence scientist 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. Type your paragraph here.