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November 1, 2012

Blog: Amy Rogers-Is Writing a Novel Like Giving Birth?

I’ve been blessed with both of these experiences in my life and I do see some parallels. One important difference: my children were born with the temperaments God gave them.  The characters in my stories, however, are entirely within my power.  I can make them into whatever kind of person I want.

Amy Rogers

In my debut novel Petroplague, I used my God-like power to create a heroine I’d love to meet in real life. Christina Gonzalez has the two kinds of strength I admire most: strength of character and strength of intellect.  She’s smart (working on her PhD in microbiology at UCLA) and she knows the difference between right and wrong. The scientific work she’s doing—using bacteria to increase domestic energy production—is supposed to be a good thing.

Until an eco-terrorist sabotages her field test and a microbial monster is born.

In Petroplague, Christina’s creation mutates.  Her bacteria start to eat gasoline and turn it into vinegar.  They swiftly contaminate the fuel supply of Los Angeles, paralyzing the city and forcing a quarantine of the entire region.  At first Christina hides behind her youth and guilty feelings and lets her elders handle the situation--until she’s the only person left who has the power to save Western civilization.

Writing thriller novels with science themes (in the style of my favorite author Michael Crichton) is a dream come true for me.  I’m a scientist by training (with lots of fancy letters after my name) and an educator at heart.  I love to use fiction as a way to put scientific concepts into people’s minds.  I can write, teach, and think about science all at the same time, all in the comfort of my home while homeschooling my two middle schoolers.  While battling my cats for access to the computer keyboard, I squeeze in 500-1000 words a day writing mostly at mid-day. (Sure wish I had the stamina to write in the early morning or late at night!)

I like to read the kind of books I write. At my website I play the critic and review dozens of books in the same genre.  Visit to learn more about Petroplague or other great fiction books that use science as part of the thrilling fun.

Here's an excerpt:

Christina Gonzalez tightened the ponytail that secured her glossy, shoulder-length black hair away from her face.  She stood in a hole fourteen feet below the grassy lawn of Hancock Park.  Down here she was shaded from L.A.’s midday summer sun, but Excavation Pit 91 was still hot.  The air temperature on Wilshire Boulevard that day was at least eighty-five degrees and the tar itself was warm, radiating primal heat it had carried to the surface from its origin deep inside the earth.
          Just another Saturday at Rancho La Brea, she thought.  This morning before leaving the apartment, River had told her again what a geek she was.  River maintained that a twenty-six-year-old Latina should spend her free time volunteering for socially responsible causes, not mucking around in asphalt seeps.
          “Make change for the future, Chrissy.  Don’t waste time on the past,” River had said.
          But Christina was a scientist (at least in training), and she knew that understanding the past was crucial to predicting the future.  Studying the environment and ecosystem of Los Angeles forty thousand years ago was actually quite relevant to contemporary models of climate change.  True, her Saturday hobby was a bit geeky, but it was also challenging and fun and important.
          Not to mention really messy.

Find Amy at:
Twitter:  @ScienceThriller

Find Amy's books at:
Signed paper copies direct from author:

So what's your thoughts? Is birthing a novel like birthing a child?


Sylvia said...

Welcome Amy! Your book sounds like an interesting read. I hope you sell a lot of copies. This one even sounds like it could be a movie.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Wow, Amy! That's some excerpt. Congratulations on the book and keep on doing what you're doing.

Thanks for visiting the PP!

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Amy and welcome to the Plotting Princesses blog!

That is a great excerpt. The story sounds compelling and very interesting.

Wishing you many sales!

Marian Lanouette said...

Great excerpt, Amy. Good luck with your book.

Amy Rogers said...

Thank you so much for hosting me. Special shout out to my fellow International Thriller Writers debut author Liese Sherwood-Fabre for arranging the invitation.

'Tis the season for writing. Early darkness means less temptation to be outside or doing active things. Good luck with all your writing projects!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Amy,
Thank you for stopping by! I love the premise of your book and the excerpt. Very interesting. I'll have to check it out on Amazon. Wishing you many sales!!!

The Ferris Wheel said...

I have the pleasure of knowing Amy Rogers personally and can attest to two facts: 1) She spins super compelling yarn; 2) She truly has the same strength of character and intellect as her heroine. It shows.

Rock on, princesses!

Phyllis said...

Welcome to Plotting Princesses, Amy.
Congratulations on your book. The excerpt sounds good.

Ditto what Sylvia said, sounds like a movie. Have you considered writing the screenplay adaption?

Amy Rogers said...

It's true that PETROPLAGUE, like many thrillers, reads a bit like a movie and could make a great script. But I'm not the person to write it--I know nothing about script writing! Maybe someday I'll be able to sell the rights to a person who can.

Alisha said...

Fantastic excerpt!

Liese said...

I've read it! A great thriller!