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Rockwall Man with ALS Uses Eye Gaze Technology to Write Novel

(ROCKWALL, TX — January 23, 2019) On Feb. 12, author Clint Townsend of Rockwall will celebrate the official release his new book, “X to the Nth.” The book marks the second authored by Townsend, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2006 and Lyme disease in 2010. The novel is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BookFinder.com, and Zondervan.

Blue Ribbon News recently caught up with Townsend in an exclusive interview to learn more about his latest sci-fi Christian thriller.

Can you provide a synopsis on the plot of the book for our readers?

“A perfect world begins with perfect humans.”

“X to The Nth” is the story of Dr. Cain Wyczthack III (WICH-thak), President and CEO of the Engenechem Corporation, and his trusted partner, Dr. Alan White. Together, the two have worked for decades and spent billions of dollars to engineer and create a perfect, highly intelligent, genetically pure slave-labor force that’s sustainable, easily replaceable…and untraceable.

Evan Armada Nine and Chloe Rover Seven are only two of thousands of clones who work diligently behind the scenes to advance Cain’s agenda and complete his top-secret projects. Although extreme measures are taken to ensure the female clones are kept isolated from their male counterparts, Dr. Wyczthack insists on tracking their every move with motion and sound sensitive video cameras and RFID chips embedded in their shoulders.

However, destiny will intercede and see to it that Chloe and Armada’s paths intersect. What is the mysterious entity that suddenly appears and leads Armada to Chloe? Why does the powerful presence want to help the couple break away from their masters? If they can manage to elude Engenechem’s surveillance and tracking systems, where will the pair flee to?

After a hurried and daring escape attempt, the runaways discover Cain’s plans for the destruction of Earth and annihilation of its inhabitants, including the army of clones. To ensure that only the strong and genetically pure will survive a thermonuclear ‘New Genesis’, Engenechem, with the aid and contribution of the largest corporations and governments of the world, builds orbital stations, subterranean bunkers and storage warehouses, a space elevator, satellite hunters, and positional, space-based missile silos. The duo comes to the sad realization that they and the rest of the clones were created for the sole purpose of constructing the artificial environments that will house Dr. Wyczthack’s hand-selected survivors of his global, atomic genocide.

Will the love-struck clones successfully stop the launch of hundreds of nuclear missiles? Can Armada and Chloe avoid detection long enough to make a clean getaway from Engenechem’s military fortress?

What inspired you to write this book?

For eight years now I’ve gotten poor sleep. I lie awake in bed for hours, sometimes all night long. It’s been at those times when the Holy Spirit has come to me and “inserted” the ideas into my head and heart. This one concept just happened to be centered around science fiction. I never planned or intended to be an author or screenplay writer. My careers were in music, food and beverage management, and the heavy construction equipment industry. Once I became sick and was diagnosed with ALS and Lyme disease, I believe God intervened and provided me with new opportunities. So, in a way, I didn’t write the book; this is all God’s doing.

You wrote the entire book using eye gaze technology. Can you elaborate on that process?

I use an eye gaze system created by Advanced Technology Resources here in Dallas. A tablet-mounted camera shines an infrared laser beam through my pupil, bounces it off the back wall of my eyeball, and projects the reflection of the laser with a tiny dot onto a digital keyboard. When I blink, whatever letter, character, or number that little yellow dot is hovering over, that’s what gets typed. “X to the Nth” (130,000 words) took me just under two years to compose, even with eight fields of predictive text to choose from on the keyboard.

What to you was the most exciting part of the writing process?  What did you enjoy the most about writing this book?

For me, as I mentioned before, whenever I went to bed, it wasn’t a time to sleep. That’s when the Holy Spirit would place new ideas in my mind and heart. So, the next day would really be the exciting part because I’d begin researching what I was given the night prior.

I have trouble holding everything in whenever I read, or have my sister read aloud, a recently finished chapter in my book. It’s so vivid in my mind; I can see the characters so clearly and hear them speaking and I start to cry. A good cry. That’s the most enjoyable aspect of my writing: listening to the words I wrote being spoken by somebody else and knowing they, too, see what the Holy Spirit gave to me.

 Do you like to read? Got any favorite authors / genres?

I like Brad Thor, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Lee Child… but don’t appreciate all the cursing and sex that has flooded today’s novels. I can take some violence, but don’t want excessive gore. I like mystery and suspense, legal thrillers, military and espionage… all kinds of stuff.

You’ve pledged to donate a portion of the profits generated by sales of the book to Steve Gleason’s ALS charity, Team Gleason. How did you first learn about that charity?

A couple of years ago, in 2016 I believe, my sister Kim and I were invited to attend a screening of the ‘Gleason’ documentary at the Magnolia Theatre. The event was sponsored by Troy Aikman and the Chase Financial Corporation to benefit the ALS Association-Texas. In fact, Troy stood not four or five feet away from us during the show. We spoke with Troy immediately after the movie, albeit for only a few minutes.

The film was an honest representation of the life of Steve Gleason, the progression of his symptoms, and the struggles he, his wife, and family, face on a day to day, if not hour to hour, basis. People just don’t get it… they don’t comprehend what exactly ALS is and what he, and I, and hundreds of thousands of people like us, what we go through, just to breathe and exist.

My mother traveled with Kim and I to Washington DC in 2017 to attend the National ALS Convention and March on the Capitol. Very exciting! We met Gail Gleason, Steve’s mother, while at the convention. Our mothers hit it off right away and were both crying in each other’s arms. Steve and his family were, unfortunately, not up to the trip.

I admire the man and his desire to help others who have been diagnosed with ALS. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but Steve has just been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and celebrated the birth of another child.

Are you planning to write a screenplay for the book?

My first book, “The Folds,” was written first as a full-length, feature film screenplay. It wasn’t until after I registered the manuscript with the SWGA that my cousin, a casting director, recommended converting the dialogue of the script into a novel. That book is currently undergoing substantive editing and will also be published by Elm Hill Books in a couple of months.

I’ve recently begun the process of transferring the dialogue from “Xⁿ” into a one hour per episode, 10-part mini-series to pitch for production on cable television (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Epix, etc.).

What message do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?

I believe the message of this book is that God can, will, and does, use anyone at anytime, anywhere, to magnify His glory, IF they are willing to accept and act on the message of the Holy Spirit when it comes to them.

By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News. Courtesy photos.

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