Amy Rogers

Science thriller writer

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Amy Rogers, M.D., Ph.D., writes thrilling science-themed novels that pose frightening what if? questions. Compelling characters and fictionalized science—not science fiction—make Amy’s books page-turners that open the reader’s eyes to threats they never imagined before. Harvard-educated and relentlessly curious, Amy is passionate about scientific literacy and nature education for kids. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children.

In addition to writing her own fiction and medical nonfiction, Amy reads every science- or medical-themed thriller she can and reviews these books at her website ScienceThrillers.

An interview with the author

Q: How does your scientific background influence your writing?

A: Storytelling is at the heart of any novel. Without a good story, and characters the reader cares about, a book isn’t worth reading. The special spice I bring to my books is science. I don’t write science fiction. I write fiction with lots of science in it. Granted, any thriller will require a suspension of disbelief and some distortion of reality, but the science in my thrillers is always grounded in fact until the last possible moment. My goal is to blur the line between fact and fiction so well that you need a Ph.D. to figure out where one ends and the other begins.

Q: Why use science in your thrillers?

A: The short answer is because I have loads of ideas for plots involving science. The longer answer is because thriller readers enjoy glimpses of secret worlds that they’re not part of in real life. They don’t want a lecture, but they do like to feel as if they’ve learned something. Great authors like Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy knew this. They gave their readers a thrill, but they also revealed details about molecular biology or nuclear submarines that made their fans feel like “insiders” in an elite club.

I also believe fiction can pique people’s interest in science, perhaps encouraging them to learn more about a particular topic. Anything that combats scientific illiteracy is good.

Q: What’s the best thing you had to research for PETROPLAGUE?

A: La Brea Tar Pits. When I visited this famous site in Los Angeles, I couldn’t believe the setting. La Brea sits in the middle of a dense urban zone--busy streets, high-rise buildings--and yet it’s so wild. Not in the way a redwood forest or mountain lake is wild. La Brea isn’t tranquil--it’s untamed, with a hint of violence. The Tar Pits are famous because they kill things. They could still kill things if fences didn’t keep things out. The La Brea Tar Pits are a sign of the immense, uncontrolled power of geology, a visible counterpart to the invisible menace of the many earthquake faults in the same region.

Q: Who the heck is Ted Drewes, and why do you love him?

A: No comment.