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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Do Genes Dictate Who We Are? & other fascinating questions, celebrating the re-release of Galanti's A Human Element

Today Idea City is helping to celebrate the re-release of Donna Galanti's thriller, A Human Element. Donna explains her fascinating motivation for the book idea:

Do Genes Dictate Who We Are? 
Adoption and being an only child runs through A Human Element. I am both, and they both had a deep impact on my life. In A Human Element three characters have similar lives. Laura's adopted and an only child raised by loving parents. Ben is an only child but abandoned when his parents die, to live a lonely existence in foster homes. X-10 is raised alone in a government facility, an unloved experiment. One common thread connects them all. They grow up alone and eventually parentless. 

Adopted children often suffer abandonment issues and feel like they never belong, that they aren’t ‘blood family’.  Being adopted myself I understood this. But as an adopted child I was lucky. I had a loving family and I learned my heritage (and am very glad I was given up. Read more about that here). I got married and had an amazing son. In having him, I have my own ‘blood’ now. I do belong–with my family.

In A Human Element all three characters have similar backgrounds, but how are they different? Ben isolates himself, Laura has an open heart, and X-10 hates the world. Is it their genes that shape who they are or their environment? I’ve found it’s both. I like to think we can overcome our genes and thrive in an environment that allows us to do so. In such an environment we can conquer our obstacles and achieve anything, but without love we're lost. I believe that our genes do not dictate who we are–and this gives me hope. Without hope change is not possible. Laura believes we all have something redeemable in us, no matter how small. Do you believe that too?

Excerpt with X-10. Can he overcome his genes and environment?

As he lunged for Laura she sensed his conflicting feelings. She saw the scientist who experimented on him and caged him his whole life, taunting him with her existence and fueling his hatred.
She saw all this in the two seconds it took for him to reach her. His sorrowful life punctured her like a knife digging into an old wound. His wounds made her wounds. It was a small window of opportunity to grasp, but all she had. Could she convince him to turn away from evil?
X-10 grabbed her by both arms and pulled her up. His freakish face loomed inches from hers. Her feet dangled above the earthen floor. Scenes from his life blasted across her mind. 
A tormented life. A tormented soul. Images of blood and killing and rage. And such loneliness. He had suffered such loneliness. He was an animal as he had been treated like an animal all his life. She pitied him and feared him.
"Charlie," she whispered. Pain coursed through her. He gripped her harder. She stared into his yellow eyes that shone bright, burning with hate.
"What did you say?" He shook her and she moaned in pain.
"Charlie. I called you Charlie, isn't that what you want?”

About A Human Element:
Evil comes in many forms…
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.
Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a madman, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his, and she has two choices—redeem him or kill him.

**Get your evil on with this re-release by Imajin Books! Newly edited, new scenes & cover!** Purchase A Human Element here

Praise for A Human Element: 
“Be afraid. Be very afraid. And be utterly absorbed by this riveting debut that had me reading till the wee hours of the night. A thriller star is born.”  –bestselling author M.J. Rose
“An elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author

About Donna: 
Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventures. She's an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, A Hidden Element (August 2014), the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (2015). She’s lived everywhere from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer.
Website, blog, twitter, Facebook

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  1. Catherine, thanks sooooo much for having me on again! I'm a wee hungover from my FB party last night for the release of A Human Element. LOL!

    I so enjoyed talking about X-10 and sharing a bit about him and talking about adoption. It's had a big impact in my life, and in my writing. There's been a bit of intrigue around my adoption tale folks and you can read more about that here:

  2. Congratulations, Donna! All the best to you and your work.

  3. No surprise X-10 hates the world.
    Congratulations, Donna!

  4. Suze and Alex, thanks so much! Yes, poor X-10 - never had a fighting chance. :) He's a monster in need of love. I actually give him some in this new edition - but he might not get to keep it. Heh heh.

  5. Yes, X-10 is one scary guy, but he does have some understandable emotions.

  6. Donna is awesome! Huge congrats to her.

  7. Hello! Genes and environment is such an interesting topic. I've been following Brain scientist Dr Caroline Leaf for a while now - her stuff is fascinating.
    congrats to donna

  8. Kelly and Michelle, thanks so much! YES, being adopted has made me question who I am, and how much my genes and environment contribute to that. I think finding peace with it is very freeing - to just make your life what you want, whatever makes you up.

  9. Such an interesting topic! I love reading about this. Sounds like a very interesting book :)

  10. I just love that cover - so creepy! Wishing Donna huge success! :)

  11. Really cool story idea, Donna. What a fun discussion.

    Happy Wednesday, Catherine.

  12. I've always believed who we are is 50% genetics and 50% environment. I have a couple adopted nephews and nieces, and I wonder some days how they feel about the situation.

  13. Hi all, thanks for your interest and congrats! When I see the genes I come from I am grateful every day I overcame them, and hope they are watered down in my son. LOL! But I also try harder to make his environment as supportive as possible too, with a little tough love thrown in when needed. :)

    Crystal, it would be an interesting discussion to have with your nephews and nieces. I always felt like my extended family knew I didnt belong - but I realize now that this was my own insecurity.They loved me as they loved all the others. And in having my birth mother find me, this led to more questions than answers. You can read about those secrets here!

  14. Good luck to Donna! The book sounds awesome. I loved the excerpt.