• Pat Brunn-Perkins

Catching Up

I thought I would use the current Covid-19 time out to put together answers to questions asked by readers of Twisting Legacy.

June 22, 2019

I view my book as a reflection on me. As such, I want it to be accurate, readable, thought-provoking, and informative. I am also of a mind that everything can be improved, which poses a dilemma for me as a writer. Can one ever improve something too much? I can answer yes to that question. With Twisting Legacy, I have struggled with knowing when to stop correcting, adding, deleting, and improving—hence the different editions. I apologize to my readers for delaying the final product. Yesterday, I had a little talk with myself and decided enough is enough. So, for better or worse, I am letting this last edition (due out in several weeks) go as is. Whew!

July 2019-May 2020


Did you have a reason for selecting the subject of your book?

Yes. With the mapping of the human genome, medical science has entered a new frontier as significant as our leap into space. By writing a story around an inherited disease, I wanted to pique the readers’ curiosity about genetics in general and genetically-transmitted illnesses in particular because, in the future, we will see many innovations in the area of genetic medicine. While the benefits of our new knowledge of genes could be many, there are equally as many opportunities for abuse. Since the human gene pool belongs to everyone, how scientists apply their research results must be everyone’s concern.

The ability of scientists to locate disease-causing genes begs the question, what next? I think it is safe to say that in the future, geneticists will attempt to modify bad genes by altering their DNA. The objective would be to prevent the further transmission of unwanted genetic illnesses. For individuals currently afflicted with hereditary and chronic diseases, gene manipulation raises the hope of discovering gene therapies that would treat and possibly cure their disorders.

As much as the elimination of genetically-related ailments would be welcome, fiddling with the human gene pool for any reason affects us all. If society wants to prevent undesired abuses and consequences, it must insist on the rigorous scrutiny of gene manipulation techniques and procedures, and not just in our country but worldwide. Since the jury is still out on the long-term safety of genetically-modified plants and animals, we can’t be too careful.

Genetics is an impossibly complex subject that is hard for the average person to understand. Twisting Legacy is my attempt to provoke interest in human genetic engineering by bringing to light the all too human desperation of those waiting for present-day cures and therapies and, in the future, the prevention of all genetic diseases.

Why did you write about the particular hereditary disease mentioned in your book?

As a nursing student at Cornell University in New York City, I was assigned to Goldwater Memorial Hospital for a two-month stint as part of the curriculum on chronic diseases. I have never forgotten the bravery of the two patients for whom I cared or the many examples of courage demonstrated by the chronically-ill patients who resided there. I particularly recall a young woman confined to an iron lung who painted with her teeth. Her paintings were not only beautiful, but they also personified a strong inner spirit determined to make the most of life. I also remember with a smile a good-natured bilateral amputee who used canes to propel his stretcher down the hallways. He called himself the Drag King. I can still hear him laugh. My time at Goldwater left an indelible and meaningful mark.

Why did you select Naples, FL, as the setting for your book?

I have a home in Naples, so I am familiar with the city’s assets. It is as beautiful as described in the book. I am also fascinated by the old-fashioned phenomenon, season, that takes place during the winter months in Naples. Season brings together year-round and part-time residents, their guests, and tourists to socialize. Reminiscent of the grand seasons of the 1870s and 1880s in New York City, Philadelphia, Newport, Chicago, and other cities, Neapolitans fling themselves headlong into a flurry of balls, parties, concerts, dinners, auctions and other events to the benefit of many charities.

Do you have a favorite character in your book?

I like Sunny for her intrepidness, loyalty, and insightfulness. She is a do-it-yourself person, a square peg in a round hole, both compassionate and resourceful, and the kind of friend we all want.

Since this is your first book, what made you want to write it?

I read a book a few years back that was a waste of time as far as I was concerned. The story was silly, and I came away without a new fact or insight. Since I read to learn and be entertained—this book didn’t do either—I felt cheated. Disgruntled, I thought to myself even I could write a better book. The thought replayed in my mind like a tune you can’t forget. Tired of it banging around in my mind, I admonished myself to put up or shut up. I chose the former option.