Book Author’s Medical Thriller Releases in Days

(Courtesy of Deborah Greenberg)
Unnatural, written by Deborah Greenberg (penname Deven Greene), is a 284-page medical thriller, the first in a trilogy and is slated to release Jan. 7.

    Many talented residents, especially book authors, live in Orinda. Deborah Greenberg, working on her second novel but the first published, proves no exception.
    Writing under the pseudonym Deven Greene, Greenberg’s 284-page medical thriller has a scheduled release date of Jan. 7. Entitled Unnatural, it is the first in a trilogy.
    Greenberg chose a pen name for memory reasons.
    “I didn’t want to use my real name but wanted to use something similar. I thought that by having ‘e’ as the only vowel, it would be easy to remember how to spell it,” said Greenberg, a wife and mother of two grown children.
    Born in New York City, moved to Sacramento with her parents at age five, Greenberg has lived in Orinda for the last 30 years.
    To describe her novel, Greenberg directs readers to her book’s back cover:
    “Dr. Erica Rosen is perplexed when she sees a young Chinese girl with blue eyes in her San Francisco pediatrics clinic. The girl’s mother, Ting, is secretive and Erica suspects she has entered the country illegally. Later, Erica encounters Ting’s son and discovers he has an unusual mutation. Erica learns that Ting’s children underwent embryonic stem cell gene editing as part of a secret Chinese government-run program.
    “The Chinese government wants to murder Ting’s son to prevent others from learning about his unusual mutation and the secret gene-editing program. At Ting’s urging, Erica heads to China to expose the program and rescue the infant Ting was forced to leave behind, all while attempting to evade the watchful eye of the Chinese government.”
    A few factors influenced her choice to write a medical thriller:
    “The novel is a thriller because it moves rather quickly and there is a lot at stake,” she explained. “It’s a medical thriller, because it deals with a medical issue – embryonic stem cell gene editing – and the protagonist is a San Francisco pediatrician. The genre is a natural for me, given my background in biochemistry, where I started out years ago in medicine.”
    Before she retired, Greenberg had to squeeze in whatever hours she could find to get her writing done. It took her eight months to write and more time editing.
    “Now I have a lot more flexibility,” she said. “I write whenever I want, which is often, usually with a cup of coffee nearby. Nowadays, since I’m sheltering in place, I have few conflicts.”
    Her simple writing routines utilizes a PC with a large screen so she can have her Word doc open and simultaneously search the internet for information. Though not sticking to daily goals, when she’s writing a first draft she typically writes 1,000 words a day.
    Greenberg admits that one of the challenges she encountered writing this book had to do with timely topics.
    “It’s risky because the world can change while you are writing,” she said. “For instance, once I finished my first draft of Unnatural, wherein the Chinese government set up a secret human embryonic stem cell gene editing program, something I was pretty sure no government would actually do due to the worldwide ban on such activities, a Chinese doctor announced that he had secretly done just that – performed gene editing on human embryos to prevent HIV infection. I had to go back and make a few changes to reflect that.”
    Not one to give advice to new writers, she will offer words of support: “I would encourage anyone who enjoys writing to keep it up, get input from others if possible and edit like crazy.”
    Inspired by current events and her imagination, with no writer’s block along the way, Greenberg hopes her readers will enjoy her novel, but she also wants them to walk away with knowledge and appreciation.
    “I would like them to learn about gene editing, and the dangers currently inherent in human embryonic gene cell editing,” she said. “Thirdly, I would like them to have an appreciation of life in China, as well as a few other things that come up in the novel.”
    Her book can be found in paperback and electronic form on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
    “I do not know if it will be available in an audio format,” said Greenberg. “I plan to have it available at Reasonable Books in Lafayette, and possibly other local bookstores.”

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