A healthy scientist is found dead of an apparent heart attack in a locked lab. Could it have something to do with the technology the entire worlds covets.
Diamonds in the Sand was actually the fourth book I had ever written, sometime in 1998. I had started my writing career with an expose’ about academia in general, and psychology in particular, after I fell prey to the politics of graduate school in Clinical Psychology. After that book I wrote an alternate history that had a lot of characters and scenes. Set in a World War II between the Kaiser’s Germany and the Allies, it was a well researched and horribly written work. Next I did an epic 260,000 word fantasy with again a lot of characters and scenes. It wasn’t too bad, but it was the wrong work to try to break into print with. So I decided to try a more conventional length with fewer characters. And I decided to write my first love, science fiction. Now I grew up reading classic science fiction, involving faster that light travel to alien worlds. But I had read that the trend was to write about the near future and only change one thing. I could do the first, but the second was beyond me. I couldn’t see the future as just like now only different. Nanotechnology had always been an interest, especially after I had read an essay about using nanites to build a car out of diamond, after scattering them in some dirt or sand. That was where the title came from, the idea of making diamonds from sand, though highly carbonaceous soil would be a better choice. I also started looking at genetic engineering and possible cyborg applications, having already decided to make the main character a man who had been augmented by the military before becoming a police officer. But I didn’t want to make him a six million dollar man type cyborg, with multiple amputations replaced by robotic parts. I thought a series of implants and bone fiberization would make him a much better cyborg, with tiny micro motors at his joints pulling on microscopic carbon wires to augment his strength.
Now for the plot. A closed room murder of a healthy man that looks like an accident. And the ultimate prize that he is working on, something that everyone either wants or wants to stop. Nanotech would be a boon for the military and many corporations, and a disaster for many manufacturing and mining concerns. And both to the medical establishment, as it would both insure the prevention of many conditions and put many medical practitioners out of business. Then I made the scientist a black man married to a white woman, something that would piss off a lot of Southerners to this day. And add in love interests and professional jealousies and I had a large handful of possible murderers. And I decided to set it in Sarasota because I was from Venice, and had a good working knowledge of the layout of the area. Of course it went through the submission to the three regular publishers and was rejected by form letter. And from there it languished on my hard drive for many years.