Today I have an interview with Daniel Danser, Author of “The God Particle.”
What are three things about yourself you think everybody should know?
The inspiration for The God Particle came after a business trip to Geneva, Switzerland. I was winding down after a hard days work in the hotel bar when I overheard two technicians from the nearby CERN Institute discussing the Hadron Collider. On the television were the devastating scenes of the 2011 Japanese tsunami. I put the two together, which formed the plot for the book.
Whilst doing my research for the novel I came up against a lot of resistance from the scientific community when I started asking poignant questions, such as: How can we be sure that the recent spate of so-called natural disasters aren’t as a result of something we are doing? Has humanity reached a tipping point of developing technology so profound, that it can destroy the human race? What if the motives for scientific discovery are not necessarily for the benefit of mankind?
Which brings me to my third point; I discovered that the search for the God Particle has already cost the contributing countries $15 billion. Putting that into perspective NASA cut their space exploration program to save $310 million that’s a third of what CERN spend every year on running costs for the Large Hadron Collider. So what are they going to do when they find the God Particle? The last time such a vast amount of money was spent on a single project by so many countries was in 1943, it was codenamed The Manhattan Project and the outcome was the atomic bomb! Need I say any more?
What is one thing almost nobody knows?
What almost nobody knows about me is that since I published The God Particle, I have been threatened and intimidated to such an extent that I have felt compelled, for the safety of my family, to leave my home country and relocate to the relative anonymity of The Middle East…and of course Daniel Danser isn’t my real name!
Hope it’s not too heavy for you but the more people who know the truth, the safer I will be.
Do you come from a scientific profession, or did you start this as a writer looking for good ideas?
I’ve always been interested in science – ever since my first chemistry set as a child. It was my best subject at school and I’ve always kept abreast of the latest developments by reading scientific journals. I’m sure that if I hadn’t taken up writing as a profession, the lure of the Bunsen burner, white lab coat and wild hair would have got me in the end.
You obviously feel pretty strongly about the dangers of some scientific research. Why write about them in a novel rather than pursue a more journalistic venue?
When I left university I worked in the newspaper industry and the sad truth is that stories get manipulated and edited for the benefit of the media owners. The great advantage of ebooks is that you can express your opinions without fear of censorship and get your message over to a global audience.
The other downside of newspapers is their transient nature; a ‘big’ story will hit the headlines for one day, if it gets enough response there may be a follow-up article the next day but then that’s it. It will inevitably get replaced by the next ‘big’ story, such is our appetite for new news. An ebook on the other hand is more enduring, once published its out there for future generations to discover.
Don’t get me wrong, “The God Particle” isn’t the gospel according to Daniel Danser, it’s a work of science fiction based on science fact; an action-adventure thriller that takes the popular theory – “Every time the world’s largest machine (the Large Hadron Collider), fires-up, a so-called ‘natural’ disaster occurs – tsunami, earthquake volcanic eruption etc” – to the next level. The hypothesis has been around for a while, I’ve just added the flesh to the bones in a way that I hope will entertain as well as inform.
So what is “The God Particle” all about?
CERN’s Hadron Collider is the world’s most powerful machine; its sole purpose is to prove the existence of the mysterious God Particles – the essential building blocks of the universe. But after a series of global catastrophes, suspicion arises as to whether they are occurring naturally or are somehow connected to the collider’s experiments.
After the sudden death of the project’s director general, professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tom Halligan, is headhunted by CERN’s governing council to continue the search for the elusive particles.
He is soon embroiled in a titanic struggle against sinister forces that are intent on creating a chain of events, the outcome of which will determine the fate of mankind.
The battle to save the planet from annihilation is being fought by the most unlikely of heroes.
What did you do to help your book crack the Amazon top 30 for its category?
I knew from the outset that writing a good novel was only the beginning of the journey to becoming a best seller. When you put your pen down that’s when the real work start. You have to have a marketing strategy that will differentiate your book from the millions that are available, this involves using all the tools that are available on the web – blogging, interviews, online reviewers, facebook, twitter, youtube and of course your own website.
What is next for you as a writer?
People who have read my book are saying that they can’t wait for the sequel and as tempting as it is to sit down and write my next novel, I’m disciplined enough to know that you have to maintain the momentum generated by the current one, otherwise it could slip into oblivion. So more blogging, more interviews and more tweets. Ultimately I would like to see the book turned into a film but that’s a whole new skill-set I have to learn to attract the right people in the film industry, having said that, I am a quick learner.
What should I have asked you if only I had known you well enough to ask?
Good question – I suppose you should have asked me when my birthday was, so you could have sent me a card (it was last week by-the-way). If I were interviewing myself, I would ask, “What drives you as a writer?” and the simple answer would be to make people think about what’s really going on around them. I’ve already spoken about how certain people have reacted to the novel and if I can inspire others to ask the same questions that I have asked then maybe when there’s enough of us we will get the answers.
To learn more about Daniel Danser: