Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Joyce Luciani, Cancer Survivor and author

Joyce Luciani, author of Killing The Cure is my guest today. Thanks for coming by, Joyce.

I appreciate the invitation, Susan.

Before we talk about the book, please tell us a little about you.

I went to college after my family grew up and I was 50 years old, graduating with honors in philosophy and loving every minute of it.  I’ve always been a person who throws herself entirely into whatever subject interests me most.  In doing the research for Killing the Cure I accumulated hundreds of books, papers, notes and other information on the condition of our health care industry.  The more I learned, the angrier I became.  Since I had always been known as a ‘peacemaker’ type, (I learned that from growing up as one of eight and from having nine children of my own), my angry attitude came as a surprise to my friends and family.  The result was this novel, a fictional story based on the facts as they appear to me.

How many books have you written?

Although Killing the Cure is my first novel, I co-authored a biography, Semka, the Sammy Skobel Story, which was published several years ago.  (Perhaps I should say I’ve written three books as I have another novel (The Benediction) finished and am actively searching for an agent and/or publisher). I have also had a number of articles and a few poems published.

Have any writers inspired you?

First and foremost my favorite author would be Ernest Hemingway.  I read him very early in my life and loved his style.  Another is Leon Uris, especially his Irish novel, Exodus.A more recent one would be Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and Remarkable Creatures.

Had any great experiences while writing?

Seeing one’s work in print is always a great thrill, but I think one of the greatest experiences in writing fiction is when my characters take over the story and do or say things I didn’t expect.   It’s then I know I’ve created characters who have become real.  It’s a fantastic high!

Tell us about Killing the Cure, Joyce.

Killing the Cure grew out of a period when both my husband and I had cancer.  He was receiving his third series of radiation treatments for prostate cancer which had spread to his bones when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  We were overwhelmed, not only emotionally, but financially.  The cost of treatments and prescriptions were eating up our savings.  I was angry that after all the years of research, no cause or cure had been found.  Throwing myself into researching the subject, I found that the vast majority of research funds had been spent on treatment drugs rather than on finding a cause or a cure.
      Killing the Cure is the story of two brothers, one a doctor, the other a newspaper columnist, whose mother died of cancer when they were boys.  They vow to search for a cure for cancer, but find that the pharmaceutical companies are raking in billions of dollars from their treatment drugs and are willing to go to such extremes as arson and even murder to keep a cure from being discovered.   When Greg realizes that his girlfriend’s father is the head of this corrupt group, his lack of trust sends his love life into a spin.  Jared exposes the group in his column and in television interviews, opening himself to their revenge.  It is their own greed that brings the pharmaceutical companies down in an unexpected scandal.

 Where can we find Killing the Cure?

Killing the Cure is available at and, in both print and eBook, and at   It is also available on the website .

Did you have many challenges while writing this book?

Killing the Cure required a tremendous amount of research.  I spent the better part of two years searching for the answers, pouring over newspaper articles and books, as well as visiting Washington, D.C. before I could start writing.  The biography, on the other hand, required hours and hours of meetings and discussion as well as editing each section as it was written.  The writing itself went rather smoothly.

Joyce, how do you develop characters?

I write up character sketches with background material and descriptions, creating a history of their lives, their parents, their education, their desires, their friends, their likes, their dislikes, etc.  Minor character are treated the same way but not in as much detail.  My characters are often a composite of people I have known or observed.

How about setting?

There was only one setting possible for Killing the Cure.  That was Washington, D.C.  I had lived in Washington for four years in the past and was familiar with the city and the way things worked, but I had to go back to see how things had changed since I lived there.

Speak to us about any flaws in your characters.

Greg’s main strength is his dedication and perseverance in spite of setbacks.  His flaws are his lack of trust and his self-doubt.  His brother’s strength is in his positive attitude regarding his handicap.  Although he is in a wheelchair he feels there is nothing he cannot do.   His flaw is that he tends to blunder through when a simpler path would be the better way.

Why did you write this particular novel?

My firm belief that a cure for cancer is out there waiting to be discovered kept me researching and writing through the four years of writing this novel.  My background in journalism and my years living in the Washington D.C. area definitely influenced my writing.   Also my personal experience as a cancer patient and as a primary caregiver gave me a special viewpoint on the subject influencing my writing of this novel.

Where can readers learn more?                     

I have a website dedicated to Killing the Cure and promote it on facebook.  I speak about the book at various clubs and organizations in the area, as well as at book clubs and booksignings...  I also write a weekly blog on current health tips that I pick up during ongoing research ( 

Are you working on a project at this time?

I have recently finished an Irish historical novel which is set in the early nineteenth century and is searching for a home with a publisher.  This novel, too, involves brothers, and one girl who attracts the attention of all four.   It is a story of betrayal, of loss of faith, and of a family torn apart.  Their search for each other and all they have lost takes the reader from Ireland where their home and the village itself are destroyed, to Boston where their welcome is not what they expect.

How can folks find out about signings and such?

Check out my website at for upcoming dates and new blogs, as well as an excerpt from the book.

Joyce, I wish you the best with Killing the Cure. You strength and endurance are an inspiration! I want to also remind readers that all proceeds from my cookbook, Killer Recipes, are donated to cancer research so that we can more happy endings like Joyce had, available on my web site at or ask you favorite store to order copies if they're out.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Joyce and Susan for this interview. I've often believed what your book proposes, but hated that it made me sound cynical. Perhaps it's time we all spoke out on this subject because there are many who feel this way but only discuss it with friends. I'm intrigued by your book, Killing the Cure and will get it soon.

Susan Whitfield said...

I hope the proceeds from my cookbook are getting to the right place. Joyce, how do I find out that information? I give my checks to our local Relay of Life, but I've been told that not all of it stays in this community.

Cindy Keen Reynders said...

Susan, stop by my blog and collect your Versatile Blogger award that I handed out to you today!!!

dkchristi said...

It's a great story. Loved the interview. author of Ghost Orchid