Author’s Bio: R. Breuer Stearns is an investor and author. R. Breuer Stearn’s extraordinary insight has intrigued the readers in his book, The Question. This book is a feast to the curious brains, everywhere. In his sci-fi fiction creation, a perfect merge of science and philosophy has forced me to approach him for a few questions. So, I listed the question, which kept me up at nights after reading his book, and asked the amazing team of @iReadBookTours to help me get the answers from the author. If you have found yourself intrigued after reading his book, then you are in for a treat.
Ankita: On visiting your official website (http://rbreuerstearns.com/) I noticed your educational qualifications. What influenced a Harvard graduate to enter into the world of fiction books as an author?
RBS: Harvard challenged me to probe the intellectual unknown, fearlessly and with excitement. My guess is that all authors, regardless their diplomas, are inherently curious, observant, and feel the world with nuanced emotions.
Ankita: The concept of mental unity seems very close to our real world. Every one of us has experienced this phenomenon at one point or the other; of course, not at a global scale, but with our friends and family. Nevertheless, experiencing this complex — and usually ignored feeling — and writing about it are two different things. How did you wrap your head around the idea of writing about this intriguing concept? Did you do any personal research to validate the existence of the mental unity?
RBS: I did quite a bit of research about how organisms communicate. We commonly associate communication with language or audio signals or visual cues. But, plants and early multi-celled organisms communicate via exchanges of chemical signals . . . and chemistry is essentially flows of energy. This communication may appear to be unsophisticated . . . but it is mighty effective and has permitted various life forms to avoid dangers, reproduce, and evolve. Early chapters in THE QUESTION contain scientific discussions, somewhat exaggerated, but based on real science. These chapters are important because they add credibility to the fiction. If you accept the “science,” the plot becomes believable . . . and ultimately, the phenomenon of Unity becomes real.
Ankita: Your knowledge on the behavior of whales amazed me. Did you take help of any expert of animals or research the facts about this magnificent creature on your own?
RBS: I had a wonderful experience with whales in Alaska. On a small boat in Glacier Bay, I observed them up-close . . . really, really close. I could look into their eyes as they swam alongside the boat . . . and they could look into mine. I could see them, hear them, smell them. Astounding creatures, worthy of our respect, and absolutely needing our protection from slaughter. After my Alaskan adventure, I studied whales. And, marine scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium generously spent time with me and answered many questions.
Ankita: Data analysis is a complicated subject. It takes years of constant study and practice to really grasp its knowledge. How did you manage to write about cognitive studies and data analysis in this much depth?
RBS: In the non-author part of my life, I have had the good fortune to build and manage a variety of business enterprises. Almost always, part of that process involves searching for patterns in data. That said, I claim no expertise other than how to extrapolate a plausible argument from believable facts.
Ankita: Your intense research on various topics is evident and needs no room for doubt. How much time did you devote to complete this project?
RBS: Writing THE QUESTION took about two years, albeit interrupted often by the realities of earning a living and tending to family matters.
Ankita: I admired the character of Charlotte. Her acute observation skills and ability to put her ideas across was quite inspiring. Is she entirely a fragment of your imagination or did you portray any acquaintance if yours?
RBS: You are very perceptive. In my view, Charlotte is the subtle star of the book. She asks very smart, non-threatening questions . . . and causes the the arc of the story to change for the better several times. My wife asks very smart, non-threatening questions. Need I say more?
Ankita: I know that for an author, their book is like their baby, and selecting any particular favorite out of it is an impossible task. However, if you had to pick a favorite character from your book, then who would that be and why?
RBS: All of the characters in THE QUESTION seem real to me. I understand why some authors write sequels . . . because characters live in an author’s mind after the first book ends. I truly do not have a favorite. But, you might wonder a bit about who Jake really is.
Ankita: What is the process that you follow while writing? Do you have a favorite spot that gets your creative juices flowing? Is there any ritual that you follow?
RBS: For me, crafting a story and writing well is difficult. I wish that I could find a spot or create a ritual that predictably stimulates good writing. I try to write in a quiet environment and without interruption. Any time an idea or theme or scene or character or dialog or description comes to mind, I write it down immediately. As a consequence, some of my early scribbles are written on paper napkins or scraps of paper. Sometimes, I type a brief note to myself on my iPhone. When I am creating a manuscript, I write using my laptop computer every day. I try to start a flow . . . and try to keep the flow going. When I am lucky, the flow continues for a few hours. But, days exist when I am dry and fail to create anything worth keeping.
Ankita: We all need inspiration in life. Sometimes, we do not know our own potential, but a piece of work or a person motivates us to try our hand at an area, which we did not consider our area of expertise. Do you have any story for your readers about your source of motivation?
RBS: My parents and my teachers were my early motivators. They encouraged my curiosity and imbued me with the belief that I could accomplish anything that I wanted to accomplish . . . provided that I worked hard. In other words, they presented to me a world of unlimited possibilities.
Ankita: Do you have a favorite book that you can read over and over again? If yes, then what is so special about this book?
RBS: I rarely read a book cover-to-cover more than once. I have a long “To Read” list.
Ankita: Do you have any writing advice for the community of new authors?
RBS: If you are looking for a quick path to wealth or fame, fiction writing is not for you. If you take pleasure in creating a universe and telling a story, crafting something that engages readers’ brains and emotions, then start writing. Try a short story first. Test it out on family and friends. Welcome honest criticism. Improve your drafts. And write more. Writing is lonely. Be unafraid of your own thoughts. Authors write. So, write.
Ankita: I am sure our readers would love to know about your next book. Do you have any plot in mind or are you thinking about it?
RBS: Many topics are swirling in my mind. Perhaps readers of THE QUESTION will suggest some intriguing concepts!
Ankita: I hope they do. Good luck with The Question!