North Eleuthera, Bahamas – January 30, 2012
Today I was swimming in the ocean with my five-year-old chocolate Labrador, Macy, when the above headline flashed into my head. A wave of emotion ran through me as though it had actually happened. My guilt was overwhelming, so we immediately exited the water, unscathed.
“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”
Please read on if you can excuse the ruse, because I would like to tell you about a book I wrote called The Blood of Zealots. The novel is about man in his late thirties who was orphaned at birth and approaching middle age with no hope of finding a soul mate or true happiness. Through hypnotherapy, a DNA test and traditional genealogy he is launched on an international manhunt for his biological family. I hope you will buy the book and read it.
But, more importantly, I want to tell you why I wrote The Blood of Zealots, and what I hope the reader will get from their investment of time to read it. I respect your time as though it was my own, so I tried to produce a book that would both entertain and inform about some of the things in the world I find fascinating.
I lost a biological parent early in life. My father left us when I was around four. My mother, two sisters and I moved in with my grandmother. Mother remarried a few years later and our new father moved us into a suburban bungalow in the upper Midwest. He adopted us, we adopted his family genealogy, he gave us his last name and the re-branding began. I was born with the Roman numeral for three after my name (III), indicating the third in an unbroken line of males; I got a new name, but no numerals. My biological father was not spoken of until I tracked him down many years later. Anyone reading the first chapters of Zealots will notice a thread of my personal story. I decided that if I were going to write, I would draw from those experiences as much as possible in order to inject authenticity into the work. I hope that has been achieved.
I also decide that if I were going to write, I would write for money. The numbers are astounding. Sixty-five million e-readers and tablets were sold in 2011 (versus seventeen million in 2010); fourteen percent (14%) of the titles sold in the second and third quarter of 2011 were eBooks (versus 4% for all of 2011). I formed an independent publishing company in order to control my work and began writing in December 2009. I completed the novel in December 2011. I began to study book marketing, and I was blown-away by the opportunities. I sit here today with only a few weeks under my belt as a published author, but already the book is selling. Now is truly the new golden-age of publishing. Thank you Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs.
As much as a layperson can, I have attempted to be true to the sciences discussed in the book. I make no claims of scientific accuracy. After all, I am someone whose Math SAT score was so low that I tried to have it expunged. I am an avid seeker of the truth, who was born and baptized a Catholic, raised and confirmed an Episcopalian, previously married to an Irish/Jew from Long Island, and now studying Buddhism. Looking under the traditional rocks for answers to the hows and whys of our universal condition has left my curiosity far from satiated. So I decided to take a more creative approach, write about it. Hence, The Blood of Zealots was born.
I had many inspirations for the book aside from my personal story. Spencer Wells, National Geographic explorer-in-residence and head of the Genographic Project, piqued my interest in the study of deep ancestry and population genetics. Bernard Lewis, the well-known author on Islamic issues, gave me an understanding of Arab ideology and sectarian tribalism. Gordon Thomas, the widely read UK expert on the global intelligence community, especially Mossad, allowed me a view inside the mind of the international super-sleuth. Moab Hassan Yusuf’s gripping account of terror and betrayal in Son of Hamas helped me understand the personal toll one must pay when choosing between family and ideology. These great men and many others contributed mightily to my knowledge base, and the book.
The pursuit of knowledge is motivated by a combination of man’s curiosity and an inherent need to know. The intensity of one’s curiosity will dictate how far they are willing to go in search of knowledge and the truth. There are ethical and moral implications associated with the application of certain truths, the effects of which can never be fully anticipated. Unintended consequences, competition to control the knowledge, and other unknowable side-effects create a monumental burden on the bearer to be virtuous. Whatever this knowledge is, whatever these truths are, let’s hope they’re in good hands, because world peace is not on the verge of breaking out anytime soon, and I have some books to sell.
“The Blood of Zealots” by William J. Atkins
A novel about DNA, romance, international espionage, ideological extremism, and religious zealotry
Author Website: http://williamjatkins.com
Author profile: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Pointcomfort
eBook at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/84an5zx
eBook at Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/6qorahu
Video book trailer at YouTube: http://youtu.be/-8B6xARF52o
Video book trailer at Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/35272675
TAGS: genetics, DNA, genealogy, adoption, fertility, ethology, behavioral genetics, biological warfare, religious conflict, population genetics, computer science, archeology, anthropology, global politics, terrorism, radical extremism, zealotry.