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Alzheimer's Author Interview: Stephen Woodfin

Updated on July 29, 2011

Now available in paperback or e-book (Kindle)

Fast paced legal thriller. Plot is driven by characters' dependence on a man suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
Fast paced legal thriller. Plot is driven by characters' dependence on a man suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's Disease - far reaching tentacles.

The Alzheimer's Reading Room site reports that 44% of all families are directly affected by Alzheimer's Disease (AD). It stands to reason that if that many people have a primary link to the disease, no doubt the rest of us will be influenced as well.

Sadly, medical science still cannot make a certain diagnosis until an autopsy is performed. Dementia and memory loss can easily be diagnosed and there are a variety of treatment options.

As the "baby boomer" generation continues to turn gray (faster every day it seems), more and more of us will begin to show the signs. And this is nothing new. In 1974, when I graduated from pharmacy school, I saw an ad for a drug to treat dementia. The verbage still rings true. Under a photo of an attractive older woman was the caption: "She can remember what she wore on her wedding day over 50 years ago -- but cannot remember what she had for breakfast this morning."

New drugs for AD are not being approved every day. Progress is slow. If it's any consolation, the first new drug in FIFTY YEARS to treat another disease, lupus, is about to be brought to market. Research continues as "Aricept" and "Namenda" become household words.

As we struggle to deal with the personal and health related issues of AD, Stephen Woodfin calls our attention to an important sociological aspect. How does our legal system deal with a defendant who presents with symptoms of AD?

We recently reviewed his new novel on the subject (see link below) and were able to catch up with him via e-mail for a brief interview.

Attorney-Author, Stephen Woodfin

The author while enjoying a visit to the Gulf of Mexico.
The author while enjoying a visit to the Gulf of Mexico. | Source

Interview with author, Stephen Woodfin

What was the inspiration for The Sickle’s Compass ?

A:My mother fought a ten-year battle with Alzheimer’s. This experience gave me insight into the disease on an intensely personal basis. My father was a WWII vet who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. It struck me that the intersection of WWII and Alzheimer’s is where many of the wonderful people who make up the Greatest Generation find themselves, so I wanted to write a book that paid homage to them and raised awareness of AD.

Q:What sets The Sickle’s Compass apart from other books about Alzheimer’s disease?

A:Many books about AD are technical treatments of the disease from a medical perspective or “how to” books directed at caregivers and health care professionals. The most recent novel on the subject, Lisa Genova’s Still Alice , is the poignant story of a college professor who has early onset AD. However, the vast majority of AD patients don’t have early onset, but rather fall victim to AD in the final chapters of their long lives. In The Sickle’s Compass , I wanted to tell a triumphant story about the indomitable human spirit that “keeps on keeping on” even in light of an AD diagnosis. I wanted it to be an account of plain old working people, the sort of folks who form the backbone of America. They are most of the people with AD and those who care for them.

Q:Why did you title the book The Sickle’s Compass ?

A:It is a reference to one of Shakespeare’s sonnets in which he wrote: ”Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle’s compass come.” The “sickle’s compass” refers to the inevitable toll that the passing of time takes on all people. As Shakespeare pointed out, love is the only thing in the world immune to time’s onslaught.

Q:The foreword identified the book as a "modern travel novel"? What does that mean?

A:Gallivant Press wants to provide books for people who love to travel. A travel novel is simply a book in which the locales have special significance. If you buy The Sickle’s Compass in eBook format, you will find that we have imbedded pictures of many scenes from the book in the text. We hope this enhances the readers’ experience and creates curiosity that may lead them to visit some of the places in the book.

Q:What is your next writing project?

A:I have already completed a three book series which Gallivant Press will roll out over the course of the next few months. They are fast-paced legal thrillers. I am working on my fifth novel, a murder mystery that has something to do with major collegiate football. But I don’t want to give too much of it away, yet. Stay tuned.

Q:Most writers have day jobs. What’s yours?

A:My wife occasionally asks me the same thing. I’ve practiced law for over 25 years and continue to handle cases. Most of my legal work would fall in the category of what lawyers call “complex civil litigation.” That means I take whatever cases I can and make them as complicated as possible.

Buy it now!

Gamble in the Devil's Chalk: The Battle for Oil in A Field of Broken Dreams
Gamble in the Devil's Chalk: The Battle for Oil in A Field of Broken Dreams

(Paperback edition)

Photos of the setting and sites important to the plot can be seen at the publisher's website:



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    • FCEtier profile image

      Chip 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Thanks everyone for stopping by and for commenting! I appreciate each and every click.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      This is a very interesting hub and I think the book will be very interesting as well. The lupus drug you mentioned is Benesta and I will probably be put on it this fall according to my rheumatologist. It was a long time in coming. Very good hub.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It sounds as though this book would be interesting to read since it is a personalized version combining the war years and greatest generation as well as the heartbreak of alzheimers. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Mattias 6 years ago

      Interesting interview! I wish they will make progress in the research to cure this disease.