Next Big Thing for Laura Hoopes
Hi readers and writers,
I’ve been tagged in the Next Big Thing blog tag by Vickey Kall, author of the historical novel, Death Speaker. She blogs at http://www.deathspeaker.com/ . She weaves her knowledge of the ancient Celts and Brittany into the tale of her heroine, Emyn, who participates in many major decisions and battles between the Gauls of Brittany and the Romans, as one who can harvest wisdom from the dead, who speak to her directly of the dire fate awaiting her people. Vickey’s book is available in Kindle format and can be borrowed from Amazon Select.
My own Next Big Thing is a new e-book version my memoir, Breaking Through the Spiral Ceiling: An American Woman Becomes a DNA Scientist. It is in preparation for spring release.
Why is it a Next Big Thing?
It’s an inspiring read for any woman facing a challenging career, especially one in which women are greatly outnumbered by men.
And Spiral Ceiling is currently the only available book on the life story of an American woman who made it in science while being married and raising children. Most biographies and memoirs focus just on the science, or mention family aspects only in passing.
Where did the idea come from for Spiral Ceiling?
I taught a frosh seminar at Pomona College on Biographies of Biologists, and the women in the class objected that we only read about women workaholic loners, not any who balanced family and career. When I told them I had done it, they urged me to write about my own life!
What genre does Breaking Through the Spiral Ceiling fall Into?
It’s a memoir, covering a good deal of the history of women’s entry into the field of science, especially molecular biology.
What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I think Winona Ryder could play the young Laura Livingston and perhaps Meryl Streep the older one (I loved her Julia Childs rendition!) I think Sydney Poitier for Richard Mays and perhaps Harrison Ford for Mike Hoopes. I wouldn’t dare pick for my son and daughter, but Tom Goodwin, who has a cameo, should be Tom Hanks.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In Breaking Through the Spiral Ceiling, Hoopes traces her development as a woman biologist, how she fell in love with DNA but encountered discouraging signals from men in science, how she married and balanced both family and career, and why she’s glad not to be a Harvard professor.
Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published. It was almost published by Yale University Press, but they backed out after telling me I was “in the queue” for three years.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Linda Lear’s biography of Rachel Carson, Rita Levi-Montalcini’s memoir In Praise of Imperfection, and Brenda Maddox’s life of Rosalind Franklin, Dark Lady of DNA.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
All women who want to know what they’ll face if they go into a field where career-family balance is a challenge, as well as those who made another choice and wonder what might have happened if they’d stayed in science. I want to show women, especially young women, that “having it all” can be done, and that I found it valuable to construct a life of balance. So often, they are told they must choose family or science research.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Everyone’s life encounters the unexpected. In my case, I didn’t expect to marry an African American man, but then when we’d created a good life, I didn’t expect him to die suddenly of a heart attack when still relatively young. I didn’t expect my interactions with the government’s science research establishment to go the way they did, nor did I realize how rewarding teaching would be. I didn’t expect my son’s teachers to be racists. I didn’t expect my daughter’s baby sitters to fail me when she was sick. I didn’t expect to be involved in establishing the biology section of Council on Undergraduate Research. So surprises in both directions made life a continual challenge, thrill, and reward.
Here are seven authors I’ve tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing:
Barbara Abercrombie, award-winning professor at UCLA Extension’s creative writing program, author of both fiction and nonfiction books, has recently released A Year of Writing Dangerously and has more books in her pipeline. She blogs at http://www.barbaraabercrombie.com/.
Gayle Brandeis, author of four novels, most recently The Book of Dead Birds. Gayle is a professor in the MFA program of Antioch in Los Angeles. She won the Bellwether Prize for her first novel, Book of Dead Birds. Gayle blogs at http://www.gaylebrandeis.com/ .
Ro Ruffalo, author of Inland Empire suspense novel, Truly Disturbed. She blogs at http://roruffalo.wordpress.com/truly-disturbed-the-upland-murders/
Bill Wallace is the author of a wonderful literary memoir, Ghosts of Gordon Street, a haunting story from post-WWII era propelled by a childhood memory that wouldn’t die. Walking the sidewalk up to Lincoln, passing ghost houses, “Don’t remember Gordon Street without him, funny, at the time didn’t think I’d remember him at all . . . I grew up and moved away, but the boy in me stayed . . .” Bill blogs at www.catalinakid.com
Judy Howard, author of Coast to Coast with a Cat and a Ghost, blogs from http://coasttocoastwithacatandaghost.blogspot.com/ and other sites.
Lisa DeLong, author of Blood Brothers, the heart-breaking and inspiring story of the how her family coped with the treatment and death of a son with leukemia, blogs from http://lisasolisdelong.com/ ,
Linda Quinn, author of upcoming The Search, a YA multicultural mystery, and of published short stories in several anthologies, blogging at http://redroom.com/member/l-m-quinn .