Lesfic author Laina Villeneuve explores the scientific elements of her new novel Cure for Insomnia in part two of this two-part series. (Read part one here.)
In the years I’ve been writing with Bella, I’ve taken you horseback riding through the Sierra Nevadas and shown you around some places I’ve loved–Quincy and Arcata where I went to college—and around my childhood home. Cure for Insomnia entered the whole new territory of a research lab. You remember that when I met my wife, she was intrigued by the research hospital in Southern California and was interested in switching grad programs. If you need to go back and read part one to hear how we met, I’ll wait. Caught up? Great! We spent the months between meeting in December and our U-Haul date in June flying back and forth for long weekends and spring breaks.
For Louisa’s spring break, she was interested in taking a tour of the campus I’d told her about. She had sent in a late application and had heard nothing from them but thought it would be fun to check it out. A student of mine had told me that her girlfriend was actually part of the graduate program there and could meet Louisa on campus to give her a tour.
Valerie was game and met Louisa in the parking lot. She took Louisa to the graduate school coordinator. He looked up Louisa’s late application and asked if Valerie could drop everything and escort Louisa to impromptu interviews with faculty on campus.
It’s one thing to meet someone and be wowed by her intelligence. It’s another thing to hear that she impressed the people she met at the graduate school. I appreciated her on a whole new level when she excitedly told me about meeting with several Principal Investigators, especially since she’d met all those important people in a tight black T-shirt and low riding khakis that had been her standard attire when she worked as a chef.
The next day, Louisa had already set up an interview at another nearby university to check out their graduate program. She wasn’t due back until dinnertime, and I was making dinner when Valerie stopped by my house to deliver a letter of acceptance to the graduate program at the research hospital. Shortly after she left, Louisa called to say that the university made her promise not to accept another offer until they had a chance to put together an offer for her. She had visited both campuses hoping to get a feel for what they could offer and suddenly had her choice of the two.
So many stories feature protagonists with glamorous jobs: doctors, lawyers, movie stars or rock legends. Waiting for Louisa to get home, I was as starstruck as someone might be in the presence of someone famous. Today, scientists are getting a little more airtime as they work so hard to deliver the vaccines for COVID-19, and I am hoping that my characters in Cure for Insomnia help to promote the brilliance of intelligent women focused on solving a problem.
The fact that they look hot doing research in their lab coats is an added bonus!