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How a UBC Postdoc helped author Lisa Genova write her third novel.

Lisa Genova is a wildly successful author whose first book, Still Alice, was recently adapted into an Oscar-winning film. While Genova was penning her third novel, Inside The O’Briens, she relied on the knowledge of UBC postdoctoral researcher Alicia Semaka to bring a story about Huntington’s disease to life. Semaka shares the story of how she ended up with an acknowledgement in a bestselling author’s book.

How did you become a consultant on this book?

I have been a fan of Lisa Genova’s work since her first book, Still Alice. I read an interview in which she said she was working on a book about an inherited neurodegenerative disease and genetic fate. I was so excited because I just knew the book was going to be about Huntington disease (HD).

Given my background with HD, I felt compelled to reach out to her, so I tracked down her publicist and agent and offered to share my knowledge and experience with her. I have great respect and passion for the Huntington’s community, and if there was anything I could do to help make the book a true and authentic representation of their lived experience, I wanted to do it.

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