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UW-Eau Claire Alums Return to
Campus for Book Tour

RELEASED: Feb. 12, 2008

Erin and Matt Smith
Erin and Matt Smith

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumni Matt and Erin Smith will return to their alma mater to promote their novel, "TRIALS: the risk/benefit ratio," on Feb. 21.

Their visit will begin with a book signing from noon-3 p.m. in the University Bookstore, followed by an author talk at 7 p.m. in The Cabin of Davies Center.

Matt Smith, a 1998 biology graduate, said he and his wife Erin (Roppe) Smith, a 1996 graduate who majored in criminal justice and Spanish, combined their professional knowledge and experiences to pen their thriller.

TRIALS bookcover"We pooled our knowledge base and experience (criminal justice, education, biology, forensic science and pharmaceuticals) to do what writers do: write about what we know," Matt Smith said.

"TRIALS" is a pharmaceutical crime thriller published by Beaver's Pond Press in Edina, Minn. The novel centers on the character Grant Adams, who takes a position at MacPhearson Pharmaceuticals to get his daughter, recently diagnosed with bronchiosclerosis, into the only clinical trial that is testing a new drug to fight the deadly disease. In the fight to save his daughter, Adams finds himself caught in a tangled web of unethical science, unauthorized research and murder. When he uncovers a frightening secret, he is faced with a difficult choice and a seemingly impossible dilemma: should he expose the evil happening and fight for the greater good if it means risking his child's life?

After beginning the novel five years ago, the duo spent the next few years writing, editing and looking for a publisher. The finished product was printed late last year, and their official book tour begins this month.

"It is an interesting experience to write, publish and market a novel," said Matt Smith."Working in partnership with your spouse just makes it more interesting. It is motivating, inspiring, and sometimes very frustrating to work with another person on a huge project like writing a novel. But it's also incredibly rewarding. You have immediate feedback on which of your ideas are brilliant (and which are not) and can appreciate when your partner takes the story in a new direction you have to admit you never would have traveled on your own."

The Smiths are already brainstorming for their next novel.

"We do plan on writing another book, most likely a sequel to this one with recurring characters," Matt Smith said.

While Matt Smith admitted that he and his wife would love to focus on writing full-time, he currently works in the pharmaceutical industry in clinical research while Erin Smith stays at home with their two children. Erin Smith also has worked for the FBI, as an investigator in the private sector, and as an inspector for the federal government.

The Smiths said they look forward to returning to Eau Claire to promote their book.

"We have family in Eau Claire and were there for New Year's this year," Matt Smith said. "We love to visit whenever possible and hope our kids want to go to school at UW-Eau Claire someday."

The Smiths contacted a couple of their former UW-Eau Claire professors about their upcoming visit, and also contacted the Criminal Justice Association, Biology Club and Political Science group.

"Hopefully we will have a nice turnout," Matt Smith said.

The author talk will include a discussion of the book, as well as details regarding the publishing process. The couple will be taking questions from the audience and will read an excerpt from their book if time allows.

In addition to the campus events, the Smiths also will hold a book signing at 1 p.m. Feb. 23 at Borders in Eau Claire. "TRIALS: the risk/benefit ratio" can be found at Borders, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. To read an excerpt from the book, visit their Web site.

-30-

KJ/NW

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