Discouraged by science? Try writing

Q&A with Chris McCabe, a geneticist who writes novels to escape from the drudgery of writing unsuccessful grants and un-published papers

Jennifer Rohn
Jul 12, 2006
Chris McCabe is a geneticist at the University of Birmingham, UK who studies the role of hormones and growth signals in the development of human cancers, and writes novels on the side under the pen names John McCabe and John Macken. Jennifer Rohn interviewed him by Email.Q: You're a successful geneticist. Why did you start writing fiction?A: Purely because I was tired of writing scientifically. I wanted an escape into writing which was chaotic and anarchic, rather than constrained and disciplined.Q: You didn't start writing about science until your second novel, Paper, which features a disgruntled biochemist postdoc. What made you decide to switch?A: I didn't want my first book (Stickleback) to be about science. It was an escape, an antidote to the papers and grants I was writing and having rejected. However, after that, I felt confident enough to have a stab at incorporating...

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