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Author Interview with Dr. Bruce Conn

Dr. Bruce Conn

Dr. Bruce Conn

Dr. Bruce Conn, a research biologist, professor, and writer, has written more than 150 publications, including a textbook that was awarded national honors by the Association of American Publishers. He has lectured and conducted research around the world, served on scientific editorial boards, and taught at several universities and colleges. Dr. Conn is currently the dean of the school of Mathematical and Natural Sciences at Berry College in Rome, GA.

Dr. Conn was nice enough to give us two signed copies of his novel, the Curse of Durgan’s Reef, to give away to two lucky participants. We will announce the winners this friday, Oct. 23rd around Noon (EST). Not sure what to comment about? …Do you know of any other cursed places? …Have you ever had a time in your life when you were forced to focus on simply surviving? (an accident, natural disaster, being lost, etc.)

-And the winners are! Krista & JOANNE (joann).  Thanks everyone!

The Curse of Durgans Reef

The Curse of Durgan's Reef

Here’s what we asked:
You’re a successful professor, having written many publications and an award winning textbook…  What inspired you to break away from research & write a novel?

While technical and scientific writing are important to accurately convey detailed knowledge, I have always believed that fiction is the best way to inspire people or to influence the way they think about issues.  I write about marine biology and caring for nature in scientific journals, but in The Curse of Durgan’s Reef I feel I have done more to paint a picture of the beauty of coral reefs and the excitement that young people can have in exploring them.  Also, I have used the characters to set up examples of personal integrity and courage that I hope will give readers something to consider when making their own ethical choices in life.

Which character, if any, do you relate to the most?
I have to say that I relate most to Martie.  She and her brother, Ben, are both heroes, but she really stands out.  She’s a young woman, but I’ve always been surrounded by great women, from my mother and five sisters who are all people of great character, to my own daughter and my wife who are among my most admired people in the world.  Denise, my wife, does everything adventurous with me, including scuba diving all over the world.

Without spoiling anything, is there a message you would like readers to take with them after reading the Curse of Durgan’s Reef?
I want them to know that life is full of beauty and adventure, and that anyone can enjoy both.  But life always requires choices, and making those choices requires courage.  Also, when family and friends stick together, the choices we make to do what is right can lead to deeper and more satisfying relationships.

Can we look for a sequel? Plans for another novel?
I have already started on a sequel of sorts.  The one I’m writing now includes some of the same characters, but it’s set in a different country and explores somewhat different issues.  But, it will be just as exciting and full of adventure.

Who is your favorite author & why?
That’s a tough question since I am an avid reader and there are so many great authors out there.  I suppose, if I have to choose, I would say Ken Follett.  His book, Pillars of the Earth, is perhaps the greatest novel I’ve ever read.  No book has ever moved me from the extremes of tears to joy so quickly, while educating me about medieval history, lifestyles and architecture.  I also like the Spanish author, Arturo Perez-Reverte. He also is good at exploring the human character and psyche, with superb descriptions of interesting places and situations.  I could go on, but I’ll stop for now with these two.

Do you use PaperBackSwap.com or any of our other sites?
I must be one of your biggest fans!  Yes, I use all three sites constantly for swapping DVDs, CDs, and books.  I just love everything about the concept.  Recycling and sharing with other people across the country, with such little cost and effort, has become a real hobby since your sites opened.  And the sites are all very user friendly, the customer service is great, and there’s always something new.

As an author what do you think about PaperBackSwap.com?
It’s a great way to get more people browsing, reading my books, and learning about more books in general.  This is one of the best concepts I’ve ever seen.  You don’t even have to leave your home, but you can shop and browse beyond your wildest dreams, and you can network with other readers nationwide who have similar interests.

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46 Responses to “Author Interview with Dr. Bruce Conn”

  1. Juli B. (GeoFizz) says:

    I’m fascinated that an action/adventure genre author’s favorite book is “Pillars of the Earth”, which is also one of my own favorite novels. I agree with his perception, I experienced both great joy and great sadness reading that book. As a history buff, I was amazed at the accuracy of historical fact.
    I can’t wait to get my mitts on “The Curse of Durgan’s Reef” and give it a read. I’m always looking for new authors and a new writing style to pique my interest. As an avid reader, I frequently find that I’m read every novel that an author has written and have to move on to another excellent writer. Bruce Conn sounds like he takes aspects of his personal life and puts it into his novel, which of course, makes for a more genuine presentation of writing to the reader.

  2. Krista says:

    Thanks again for another excellent interview. I can’t wait to read his work!

  3. Rodney R. says:

    This sounds like it will be a great read! I have always been fascinated with the world under the ocean. Although I have not read The Pillars of the Earth, I have read Ken Follett’s WWII adventures and also enjoy them. I am surprised he did not mention Clive Cussler as a read. I have all of his books.

  4. Dilsia M. says:

    I’d like to recommend to Dr. Conn to read The Queen of the South author Arturo Perez Reverte, riveting true story of a woman immersed in organized crime.

  5. Cheshire-Cat says:

    Sounds great – I love adventures and also anything cursed just makes it that much better. I have Pillars of the Earth but haven’t read it yet. I’ll have to move that one up on my TBR list!

  6. Barbara B. (barbieofmpls) , says:

    Sea adventures and Australia….a combination of two of my favorite elements. I can’t wait to read it!

  7. T. says:

    Wow, sounds like an exciting story! Loving these interviews!

  8. Cindy P. (cinderella54) says:

    Sounds great!! Will have to see if there are any copies left on the site!!

  9. Cherie H. says:

    I hope I get a chance at reading it! I love the ocean and it’s reefs, this should be an exciting book to read!

  10. Sharon D. says:

    Dr. Conn used the magic word, “cursed” in the title and this has just about guaranteed my interest!
    I’m an avid mystery and suspense reader, everything from Ruth Rendell to Stephen King and I’m looking forward to this book from such a talented and educated man…sounds thrilling. Thanks for the interview for I wouldn’t have known to look for this work!

  11. Katrina C. (katrina-c) says:

    Sounds like a really great read! Can’t wait 🙂

  12. Mark B. says:

    It sounds like a very intresting book. I have always wanted to got to australia, I’m also been fascinated by the different creatures that they have been finding in the oceans.I can’t wait to read it!

  13. Tracy L. says:

    I think this sounds really interesting. Anything with diving and curses in it just sound very retro. This sounds like a grown up version of Rick Brant.

  14. Brooks (FoundItOnAnAirplane) , says:

    Really enjoyed the interview. Make’em longer next time cause it is fun to hear what the write thinks and feels about his or her own work. Wish the author was a bit better looking, though.
    Just kidding! : )

  15. Linda R. says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. I am always excited to find a new author whose work I have never read. Just looking at the cover would make me pick up the book. I love the ocean and I’m always drawn toward books whose plot revolves around it. Since the author works in marine biology I think he will have a lot of personal insite to add to the story and help bring it to life.
    This book is definitely on my wish list. I would be honored to have a signed copy.

  16. Mike S. (mikesmith) says:

    This book looks…like something I would never read. Pulpy, moralizing, self-published, and written by a guy whose biggest influences include Ken Follet. And the title sounds like a Hardy Boys mystery.

    Also, having worked as a script reader, I’ve seen that expertise in a field does not at all equal being able to incorporate that field into intelligent, or even readable, fiction. I remember one script I read, submitted by an Academy Award-winning-special-effects-snow-making guy about sharks that lived in snow banks instead of the ocean, that still burns in my mind as one of the most painful things I’ve ever tried to read. Same here: being a marine biologist does not equal being a good writer, and though it may be great, I am always wary of self-published work: if no publisher thought it was good enough to accept, the odds are…it’s not very good. Because publishers have set the bar pretty low; Nicolas Sparks is a millionaire.

    I hope I’m wrong–I hope this is at least as good as the best modern pulp novels–F. Paul Wilson, Scott Smith, Jeff Long–with philosophical underpinnings, literary sensibilities, and page-turning suspense…but I just don’t see much evidence that it will be, at least not in the interview above.

    The candid discussion of the book’s (generally uninteresting-sounding) themes suggests they’re probably not explored with too much complexity and nuance; the way the characters are discussed without making them sound vivid or intriguing or at all different makes me think they probably don’t come across on the page either; and the whole interview seems chatty and nearly substance-less, something I certainly don’t look for in the books I read.

    Again, I hope I’m wrong. I hope that beneath its designed-on-a-home-computer cover and this less-than-intriguing interview, there lies a classic, a BLOOD MERIDIAN for the deep-sea set. No, that’s probably MOBY DICK. But the author’s evident good nature and sincerity may combine with his knowledge of the subject to create something memorable, that’s certainly a possibility.

  17. Pamela S. (bartsy123) says:

    I’m definitely adding this one to my wish list! Thanks for the interview.

  18. June T. (JuneLee) , says:

    The interview with Dr. Bruce Conn really makes you want to read his book. Great and interesting questions. I have just started reading “Pillars of the Earth”, the author thinks it is perhaps the greatest novel he’s ever read. My husband thinks so too. When an author gives such great praise for another author, you just want to read them both. Thanks for this very informative interview.

  19. Jessie P. (jfpmwb) says:

    Sounds like an interesting book -can’t wait to read it.

  20. Jennifer D. (ndnbear) says:

    I am very glad to find another young adult writer, who makes a conscience effort to write about decisions and consequences. My 11 year old daughter is an avid reader and wants to be a oceanographer, so this sounds like a great combo. It is on my wish list, but maybe I will win a copy for her also!! Thanks and look forward to more underwater adventure.

  21. Bella H. (bells13) says:

    I’m very happy to hear that an author is a fan of PBS. This isn’t the type of book I’d normally be drawn to on first glance, but after reading the interview I’m intrigued and I look forward to reading his book when one becomes available on PBS.

  22. Cacia F. (cacialeigh) says:

    After reading this, I was compelled to find out more on what “The Curse of Durgan Reef” was all about, and it appears to be a very inspirational and action-packed book for young adults. And I believe I’ll have to give it a read myself!
    Excellent interview, PBS! I had not read the PBS blog before, or any author interviews, but now I will definitely keep the blog on my favorites list!

  23. Liane A. (qli) says:

    This sounds like a great read. Hey, if it does turn out to resemble a Hardy Boys mystery…I really loved the Hardy Boys!

  24. Karen G. (nanaandpapawshouse) says:

    Now you got my curiosity up…it sounds like a really good read. I will have to put this on my reminder list.

  25. JeanneB says:

    Thanks for the interview. I am a scuba diver but it has been awhile since I have been diving. Even though this book may be meant for young adults, my 59 year old self is looking forward to reading it. Novels about the ocean and diving are scarce. I don’t much care for Clive Cussler. Dirk Pitt is so macho (gag), the women are one-dimensional, and the stories can be downright silly. I read quite a few anyway because of the diving. So I am excited about this new book about the ocean, especially since the women in it are strong characters. I have done quite alot of exciting diving and I have had the privilege of swimming with and near some amazing creatures. The only time I was in any danger was when I was ‘narc’d’ and my husband could tell I had been too deep for too long. I was lucky to have him for a buddy that day! I wish Mr. Conn success and hope he keeps writing about the deep blue sea!

  26. My brother-in-law is a dive instructor –the very highest rank you can achieve —he teaches Master Diving or something….and he has taught his oldest daughter (age 14) to dive. My sister is terrified every time they go on a dive –can’t say that I blame her –while it’s a huge adventure – there is so much that can go wrong!

    I’m looking forward to this book –wish that I could sit in on one of Dr. Conn’s classes!

  27. Kimberly B. says:

    I really enjoyed the interview! The book sounds great too!

  28. brendak82 says:

    I enjoyed the interview with Dr.Conn and will be reading his book. I feel the need to comment on Mike S.’s negative comment….kind of sounds like a personal problem. Seriously, what is up with that? Why would anyone devote that much thought and negativism on an up and coming writer, on someone who sounds like they love what they do, and love to write and share it with others? Several times Mike, the negative commenter, said “I hope I’m wrong”. There seems to be a ring of deceit in that comment. Why wouldn’t Mike want to be right? He could stick a feather in his hat…..sounds like that is what he was going for. Dr. Conn….don’t listen to him, although for some reason I don’t think you need me to tell you that. Can’t wait to read your book!

  29. Elizabeth S. (ilovepigs61) says:

    Can’t wait to get hold of a copy, sounds like a great read!

  30. Linda O. (Eusadnil) , says:

    Thanks for the interview, it was nice. I like to know a bit about the author’s life.

  31. JOANNE (joann) says:

    This sounds like such a wonderful read! Human relationships and the trust we instill in others is so major in life. Thank you for sharing with us.

  32. David duckduckbook says:

    The book sounds fantastic, I’m always excited to explore a book in a genre I haven’t really touched on. Can’t wait to check it out!

  33. Kathy L. says:

    Sounds like an intersting book. This is my first time reading the author interview/blog section of PBS, and I really enjoyed the interview. Nice to get a personal perspective from an author on his own book, and to find out he actually uses PBS for his own personal reading! Looking foward to reading this!

  34. Deb A. (DebKit) says:

    I really enjoy author interviews, and like the sound of both this author and his book! Thanks for the insight, and I’m off to check out this book’s WL “line.”

  35. Morrigan says:

    The description of the book is interesting enough to grab attention.

  36. Angela T. (colleenFL) says:

    The book sounds very interesting. Great interview too.

  37. Erika S. (summrsun16) says:

    It looks interesting! May have to put it on the WL.

  38. Kimberly F. (SavannahSlipper) says:

    The fact that an author uses this website is wonderful! Great interview.

  39. admin says:

    And the winners are! Krista & JOANNE (joann)
    I’ll be contacting you soon. Thanks everyone! Coming up next monday… Oct. 26th Claudine Wolk & her new book “It gets easier! …and other lies we tell new mothers”

  40. JOANNE (joann) says:

    Thank you so much! Am very excited to be receiving a copy of the book! Will read and list for others to enjoy also!

  41. Christena C. (Christena) says:

    Several years ago when this book first came out I was at my local homeschool bookstore. She had a couple copies and I bought one after she told me he was also a homeschool dad.

    I really enjoyed the book and found it to be very exciting and connected with all the characters. While this is not a book for small children because of some of the content.

    This is a super great book for young adults to adults and I still have it in my books shelf . I admit my copy is well used by now but all our favorite books are.

    How neat to read he has another in the works…yay! God Bless folks!

  42. Krista R. (poeticfairy) says:

    Yippee!!! Thank you very much! I can’t wait to read the book!

  43. Darlia says:

    Hey there, Mike, why don’t you read the book before you share your general comments about your life experience as a script reader; you may have something entirely different to say. I’ve read the book and it is very well written fiction, of interest to readers like myself who don’t have personal experience of either scuba diving or marine biology.

  44. Kim W. says:

    I read the Curse of Durgan’s Reef a couple of years ago and enjoyed it immensely. My oldest son is just hitting his pre-teens and I look forward to sharing it soon with him. Looking forward to the sequel!

  45. Sianeka N Hollywood, CA says:

    I also enjoy Ken Follet, but have never read Arturo Perez-Reverte. Thank you Bruce for the recommendation, I will check both Reverte’s and your work out in future…

  46. Terri H. says:

    I am new to paperbackswap.com and am thrilled with this site and all it offers. Great interview and education into what this author offers. Thanks for the website and thanks for the great work you do. Enjoyed reading this interview and appreciate the chance to win my passion-BOOKS!

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