Meradeth Snow has been teaching molecular anthropology at UM for seven years. When she isn’t teaching students about DNA, she writes novels under the pen name of Meradeth Houston. The Kaimin sat down with her to discuss her newest book, “The Coincidence Makers,” releasing Nov. 13.
MK: You have these two passions that might not be associated together. So what’s that like for you, when you’re teaching at one moment and you’re writing in another moment?
MS: OK, this is going to sound weird, but the point of teaching especially, it’s about making things into a story. Because as humans, we learn a lot through story, we have since we’ve been humans. It’s how we learn to communicate, how our groups work together. And so teaching, for me, is a lot about attempting to put things into a larger context and then to show how these pieces fit together in a story. There’s actually a lot of commonality there.
MK: Can you tell me about “The Coincidence Makers”?
MS: I’ve always been a little bit fascinated with crazy coincidences; I think they’re really interesting. It stemmed from listening to an NPR show about coincidences. Somewhere along the line my brain was like, “What would be interesting to do is to try and make coincidences happen,” and that was how this all came about. Basically, it’s about two people, who, that’s what they do. That’s their job. They’re attempting to thwart a catastrophe, and at the same time, deal with a personal relationship.
MK: So when you’re doing the research for a book, what’s your process like?
MS: So the big problem in this book is someone is trying to start a pandemic, so I think I got on every government watchlist for researching this. And the problem is people might be wondering, “Oh, why is she searching for all these different types of plagues?” And I run a lab! So I literally have the capability of doing the stuff in the book. So I was like, I’m just going to go to the library where I don’t have to log in to look this stuff up! But there are some really awesome books out there on this stuff.
MK: So this comes out the 13th. Are you kind of exhausted, or are you already thinking of the next thing you want to work on?
MS: I do have a book that’s in progress with a draft completed, and then I’m actually working on the sequel to this book. It still is in the very early stages.
You can find a copy of “The Coincidence Makers” online wherever books are sold or on Meradeth’s website.