family chemistry

Introducing my next book, The Chemistry of Innovation: Regis Duffy and the Story of DCL (read official summary here).This book introduces you to to two of the famous people in my life – my mom and dad. 


I always knew I could write about my dad – I’d been writing about him for years. He’s a chemist, a scholar, a philosopher. The kind of man that dreams are made of. But I’d never really considered his impact on the economy of Prince Edward Island, the bioscience landscape, or even the real story of the unfolding of his company, Diagnostic Chemicals Limited, a small chemical company based right here on the east coast – until he asked me to write his story. 

Researcher Lori Mayne and I became inseparable writing partners, interviewing dozens of chemists, journalists and business people who Dad had worked with over the decades. And I put my head down and WROTE. Of course, there were a dozen nonfiction craft snags along the way. For starters, I was both the narrator AND born during the course of the book. It took us months to figure out the right narrative voice to use (thank god for SIDEBARS!) Another big one was timeline, how could we exist in the past, consult with the present, and dance with the future, all at the same time? 

And then there was the chemistry. And I don’t mean a little bit either. There were PhDs to steep into a chunk of two paragraphs, enzymology, basically the entire history of molecular science and the pharmaceutical industry in North America, the cutting edge innovation and the analyzers that generated huge advances in the industry, a domoic acid crisis, monoclonal antibodies (for dummies)  – all through the layers of marketing, sales and what ended up being a provincial response and call to action. 

When we saw that first chapter in print – the text! The fonts! The formatting!  The excitement was in real time.

Dean of Science days.

Through the drafts and re-drafts and versions and edits, Mom and Dad finally came to a place where they felt the story was told – closest to the way it happened. We have been travelling through the editorial process for a number of months now, but finally the end is in sight!

Thanks to the Island Studies Press, who believed in this project, and to all who were involved. Working with Mom and Dad on this “family story” (mom’s version) and “company story” (dad’s version) I think we came to the fine balance of telling the story of a family … who all grew up through the waves of innovation.

Watch for more updates in May, 2021.