ABOUT THE BOOKThe Question invites readers to consider this premise:
If you could have the answer to one question, and only one question, what would you ask . . . and who would try to stop you from asking it?
To what extremes would they go?
The Question is a thriller that explores a new way of thinking, a method powerful enough to answer very complex questions . . . perhaps powerful enough to solve the universe's most fundamental mysteries . . . perhaps powerful enough to resolve religions' most beguiling unknowns.
The Question is an adventure story . . . fiction that you may wish, may believe, may know, is true. The narrative occurs in the present, with scenes in California, Washington, D.C., Paris, Shanghai, New York, and Afghanistan.
The story is aimed at high-school and older readers and contains some graphic violence and occasional sexual allusions. The plot is action-oriented with an element of scientific fantasy, similar to Jack Finney's "Time and Again." The prose is crisply written, professionally edited, and organized into movie-scene chapters.
The Question is ideal reading for anyone who is curious . . . for those who gaze into the cosmos at night and wonder . . . for those who look into the mirror and imagine . . . for those whose hearts beat faster when confronting the unknown . . . for readers who enjoy a fast paced, contemporary thriller that inspires them to think.
INTERVIEW WITH R. BREUER STEARNS
How did you get started writing and when did you become an “author?”
I started writing stories as a teenager. The term “author” sounds very highfalutin, perhaps worthy of significant readership applause. Right now, I consider myself a “writer” . . . a person who tries to tell a story, convey a message, stimulate an emotional and cerebral response . . . using just the right word at just the right time.
What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I enjoy knowing that readers’ “get” my work. I try to give readers intense feelings and thoughts . . . and am tremendously gratified and appreciative when my words reward readers for reading my words.
How long is your to-be-read list?
Very long . . . and growing. I do not read fiction when I am writing fiction because I do not want another author’s “voice” to infiltrate, inadvertently, my own. My To-Read List is comprised mostly of biographies, history, and science-related books.
You have a day job . . . how do you find time to write?
Writing is a compulsion. I write when I feel or think that I have something worth writing. I type on my computer . . . or write on scraps of paper, occasionally on napkins . . . Sometimes, a concept or snippet bubbles up so quickly that I hurry to write it down before I forget it. Other times, I will think and think about an idea or concept and fail to find the right words or the right flow. Writing is sometimes very easy and sometimes excruciatingly difficult.
If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
Animal Planet . . . or a channel focused on Science and Nature.
How do you feel about Facebook?
Facebook is brilliant, conceptually and technologically. It is a wonderful communications and marketing tool because it is simple to use and addictive.
What scares you the most?
Intolerance combined with ignorance. In today’s world, a minuscule number of people with access to highly destructive weaponry can do tremendous harm. My biggest fear is that an intolerant and ignorant few people destroy or injure many innocent lives.
If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
No. But, it would be a very large jar.
Great answer! What's your favorite treat for movie night?
Popcorn with real butter and salt.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Mark Twain (paraphrased): It's not what you don’t know that hurts you . . . it’s what you know for sure . . . that just isn’t true.
Who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anyone in the world?
I would invite Abraham Lincoln to have dinner with my family and closest friends.
What is your favorite movie?
Any of these movies: Big, Field of Dreams, The Producers (original version), E.T.
Do you sweat the small stuff?
Yes, particularly in writing. Nuance, details . . . the right word . . . are important. Inattentiveness to the “small stuff” almost always results in problems with the “big stuff.”
How long is your to-do list?
Long, eternally long. Curiosity produces long to-do lists.
Cake or frosting? Frosting
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Chevy Chase
Emailing or texting? Emailing
Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors
Tea: sweet or unsweet? Unsweet
Plane, train, or automobile? Plane
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mr. Stearns graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover (1970), Harvard University (AB, 1974), University of Chicago (MBA, 1977), and DePaul University College of Law (JD, 1979). He rapidly ascended on Wall Street in the 1980’s, serving as Managing Director, Mergers & Acquisitions at Lehman Brothers and Head of Investment Banking (North America) at UBS Securities. While living in New York, he founded “Terrific Teachers, Inc.,” a foundation dedicated to identifying and rewarding the best of the best of the city’s public high school teachers.
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Stearns launched a private investment bank in the former Soviet Union. He spent the early 1990’s seeking to marry emerging science, primarily emanating from Russia’s Defense sector, with Western capital. During this period, Mr. Stearns made a small fortune, albeit from a larger one. The venture provided a remarkable lesson in hubris, a tremendous reservoir of internal strength, and first-hand source material for Mr. Stearns’ first book, Winning Smart After Losing Big (Encounter Books, Beijing University Press).
Subsequently, Mr. Stearns served as Chief Financial Officer of The Dial Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of Columbia/HCA Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of PacifiCare, Inc., President and Chief Operating Officer of Vascular Genetics, Inc., and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quepasa Corporation (QPSA:Amex).
Mr. Stearns is a Founder of VestaPoint Capital LLC, a family of investment funds focused on real estate development. He lives in Arizona with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and a horse. He travels extensively and is intensely curious.
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