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Laura L Mays Hoopes Laura L Mays Hoopes

In the Works


Opening Doors

Joan Steitz and Jennifer Doudna, Two Women of the RNA World

Opening Doors

Excerpt from Jennifer Doudna's life:

After she returned to New Haven, her dad called. She sat in her office at Yale surrounded by piles of papers, lecture notes to finish preparing and review, a half-built model of a transfer RNA, and heard him say that a red pimple on his scalp was a melanoma.

"How bad is it?" she asked.

"They told me I had three months."

Jennifer's stomach tightened. As soon as he hung up, she searched the medical literature on melanoma. Then she called back and tried to get more information about his case so she could compare it with what she was reading. She looked into clinical trials and experimental methods. Mostly, they offered a lot of pain and only a whiff of promise. She finally decided, reluctantly, that there was probably not a lot that could be done. She stopped her mad dash through the medical literature and returned to full bore research. She wanted to make her major discovery while her father was still alive. That seemed like the most important thing she could do for him now.

Currently in submission for publication.


The Bad Project

The Bad Project

Crystal While, her first year college roommate, agrees to teach Marianne Wu to be bad so she can be a writer. But Crystal worries that she might be endangering her own premedical plans. Things go downhill rapidly once they begin the project, and eventually Marianne discovers the value of friends and family outweighs the value of being bad.

This novel is currently available for free download on Inkitt.com.

The Secret Life of Fish

The Secret Life of Fish

The Secret Life of Fish is the story of the iconoclastic Holly McLean, a girl who turns to nature, to Cherokee wise-woman Galilani, and to environmentalist Josh Breyer, to shape her future. She resists molding by her teachers and her highly organized parents. Holly is impatient and angry with barriers of race and class. As she explores this minefield of demands, she falls in love with Jacky Dial, a half-Cherokee, half-Lumbee boy. They go steady through her high school years, watching the airplanes Jacky longs to design. and once, sneaking out to a rally for segregation where they hope to see the Lumbees thrash the Ku Klux Klan. Another time, a waitress at a lunch counter in Greensboro refuses to serve Jacky, infuriating Holly.

Holly is in her first semester of college and pregnant with Will when she breaks with Jacky, and she moves west and raises Will McLean as a single mother, working for The Nature Conservancy in Morro Bay, California. Later, Will goes to North Carolina to find his roots, a quest that leads him to his Cherokee grandmother Adsila, who calls him a bastard. His Cherokee and Lumbee aunts and uncles are more welcoming. Holly comes back to North Carolina, where she has to confront her old demons of racism and environmental disregard. Her love of meadows and swamps resurrects quickly, but realization of who she once was proves to be much harder to achieve. For Will’s future happiness, he needs Holly to make peace with Adsila, but can she overcome hatred to do that? The Secret Life of Fish is full of passion, pain, terror, hope, and the magic of nature.

Laura’s note: The Secret Life of Fish is a love letter to North Carolina, its natural environments and people, as I knew it growing up. I include events that actually occurred in the 1950s as background for the story. This novel is set amid the small towns, red grass fields, and blackwater swamps of North Carolina at the dawn of the Civil Rights and environmental movements.

This novel is in the last stages of final revision before submission for publication.