As with Brainwash, CLON-X began as a spark lit by a canine nose for trouble. My trusty partner in crime at the time – Shotz, also a giant schnauzer – not only gave me the spark for Brainwash, but not long after, the opening chapter for CLON-X, which I squirreled away for a future Darcy McClain and Bullet thriller.
For Brainwash, we were cleaning up trash in the arroyo of our vacation home in Taos, New Mexico, when Shotz unearthed a floppy disk. Unable to contain my curiosity, I had the contents of the disk loaded onto a USB. Imagine my surprise when the data turned out to be classified documents from Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL).
In the case of CLON-X, Shotz sniffed out a trash bag stuffed in a drainage channel near our home in Texas. In reality, the remains in the bag were a poached deer. In fiction, those remains became the pulverized body of renowned geneticist Cate Lord.
Once the spark has flared, there’s little that can deter me from a book deadline. Or so I thought. But the best laid plans can still go awry. With a projected release date of late 2019 for CLON-X, I had no idea that Covid lurked in the dark shadows. As I stated in my blog post of 9/22/22, when you can’t control the outcome, you simply persevere.
In reality, the pandemic and the hardships many people faced in dealing with the virus far outweighed the importance of fretting over a book. Nor could I have anticipated that, beyond the pandemic delays would come another unforeseen event – and one that would launch the plotline in an entirely different direction.
On June 24, 2022, in a 6-3 ruling, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years. This decision transformed American life, reshaped the nation’s politics, and led to total bans on the procedure in at least eleven states.
For CLON-X, the Supreme Court ruling was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it threw my storyline into a tailspin, the domino effect cascading throughout the entire subplot based on the topic of abortion. On the other hand, the timing of the Supreme Court decision gave me the opportunity to bring the subject matter current, although it furthered delayed the book’s release.