NO TIME TO DIE
By Kira Peikoff
Someone is out for blood—Zoe Kincaid’s blood. She’s a 20-year-old trapped in the body of a 14-year-old girl and her DNA could hold the secret of immortality. Could it be the Columbia University researchers who see her as the key to fame and tenure? The shadowy figure, known only as Galileo, who is kidnapping the world’s best researchers? The Justice Department head
who seems a little too intent on getting her alone? Or the maniac who just fed a leading scientist to his chimpanzees?
Zoe knows that unlocking the secrets of genome could save her beloved grandfather, a retired physician and former Olympian who grows frailer by the day. Can she trust the rogue physician whose secret lair hides discoveries that might just save her grandfather? Heart-pounding twists just keep coming in Kira Peikoff’s stunning biomedical thriller, NO TIME TO DIE (Kensington Publishing; August 26, 2014.)
Science has barely begun to unlock the secrets written in our DNA. Researchers are relentlessly hunting for the answers to chronic diseases, cancer, rare disorders and the biggest mystery of them all—aging—but at what cost? Bioethicist Peikoff asks the most troubling scientific question of our time in this taut thriller: when does medicine cross the line?
KIRA PEIKOFF is a writer based in New York City. She graduated with high honors from New York University in 2007 with a degree in journalism, after four years of various reporting internships: covering street crime for The Daily News, writing about Capitol Hill for The Orange County Register in Washington, D.C., reporting on business and technology for Newsday, and researching feature stories for New York magazine. After completing her first book, Living Proof, Peikoff worked for several years in the editorial departments at two New York publishing houses, which gave her an invaluable inside look at the publishing process and the rapidly changing industry. Peikoff is working on her third thriller, freelancing for a variety of major media outlets, and attending Columbia University's Master of Science program in Bioethics.
NO TIME TO DIE
By Kira Peikoff
Pinnacle Books; August 26, 2014
$9.99; 440 pages
Questions for Kira Peikoff
Author, NO TIME TO DIE
A few years back, I saw a documentary on Discovery Health about a young woman who had inexplicably stopped aging. She was almost 20 years old but had stayed frozen as a toddler her whole life, baffling doctors and scientists alike. The case caught my attention because I've always been interested in medical mysteries, and like many people, I'm also fixated on the promise of eternal youth. Yet staying young forever, as welcome as it might be, could also be a curse. I decided to explore it further in a novel, but I didn't want my protagonist stuck as a toddler without much mental or emotional capacity. So I decided to trap her in the worst possible page for maximum drama and frustration. What could be worse than 14?
2. What is Syndrome X?
Syndrome X is the name researchers have given to this phenomenon of total stunted development. To date, at least 6 people have been identified.
3. What are some of the benefits of not aging?
On an individual level, endless time--time to spend with family and friends, time to pursue infinite knowledge, passions, careers, hobbies, etc. No longer having to worry about outliving your parents or grandparents. Knowing generations of your own descendants. Living in the prime of life without breaking down physically after 70 or so years.
On a societal level, much less spending on health care, since the diseases of aging (cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's) would be greatly reduced. A more robust economy, thanks to workers who retain full strength and energy long past retirement age.
4. What would be some of the negative results of not aging and becoming almost immortal?
Individually--people might suffer from a kind of idle purposelessness if they are living so long that there's no point in "seizing the day" or making the most of life. They might start taking their time for granted and losing their ambition. But of course, you'd still have to support yourself with food, shelter, etc. And you could still get hit by a bus and die, or get sick. It's very different from actual immortality.
Societally--we would have to deal with how to avoid overpopulation. People would have to have fewer children, or maybe skip generations before having children. We'd have to figure out how to make existing resources and infrastructure support the growing population. Social security would end. I don't know if people would retire anymore.
5. How did you research aging for NO TIME TO DIE?
I read some textbooks about both the physiology, genetics, and social aspects of ending aging. I developed a professional correspondence with a leading researcher who answered all my questions pertaining to my book's specific scenario in great detail. We went back and forth many times on the hypothetical scenario I created with his help, so it's as credible as possible while still being fiction.
6. How did you choose the thriller genre?
I feel into it by accident. When I started writing fiction, I gravitated toward stories with high stakes, increasing tension, cliffhanger chapters, and a fast pace. I didn't actually intend to write in any genre, but after I wrote my first book, I realized I'd written a thriller.
7. NO TIME TO DIE offers some great surprises, twist and turns. Who are your biggest influences in the thrillers and suspense genre?
Michael Crichton, Michael Palmer, Lisa Unger, Gillian Flynn. If you want to get old-school, I would add O. Henry and one of my favorite books as a teen: The Scarlet Pimpernel.
8. In NO TIME TO DIE, one of the main reasons scientists are busy researching defying aging is because: they have a back story. Many have a loved one they wish could have lived longer – it’s a very human side to all the scientific lab work involved – was your writing process different when explaining the scientific lab work vs. the human and emotional side of your characters?
Yes, writing about the lab work was more of an intellectual challenge, because I had to figure out how to incorporate real-life details with fictional ones. It was like a puzzle. Writing about the human side came more naturally. I tried to tap into how I might feel in their place, and why I might do what they were doing, so I could access that yearning and vulnerability.
9. What do you hope readers will gain from reading NO TIME TO DIE?
First and foremost, that they will be transported on a thrilling and satisfying journey with characters they've become invested in. Then: that they'll possibly think about their own positions on the controversial subjects the book raises, and finally that they will be shocked by the big twist ending.