Set on the UMN campus, local author pens novel about dangers of cloning

Novel “Danny’s Boy” combines fiction with scientific controversy on campus.

Laurie Rossin holds a copy of her book Dannys Boy a novel set at the U of M stem cell research center.

Easton Green

Laurie Rossin holds a copy of her book “Danny’s Boy” a novel set at the U of M stem cell research center.

by Maddy Folstein

The University of Minnesota campus is an oft-cited center of scientific research and exploration.

But it’s also the setting of local author Laurie Rossin’s novel “Danny’s Boy” — a fictional account of journalism student Danny O’Neill, her romance with a young doctor and the dangers of cloning.

“[The novel] was inspired by the story of Dolly the Sheep,” Rossin said. “I started thinking about what would happen if a human was cloned. That’s really what spurred me on to write the story.”

Although Rossin has worked as a writer for much of her life, “Danny’s Boy” is her first novel.

“[In college] I studied literature and have always been fascinated by books and fiction,” Rossin said. “But in my career I ended up doing technical writing for employees, so it took me a while to get back to my creative side.”

Beccause Rossin lives in Eagan, MN, her decision to set the novel at the University campus allowed her to use her knowledge of the area.

“I worked on both the East Bank and the West Bank of the University,” Rossin said. “I was always kind of around, and I knew that the University of Minnesota has a world-renowned medical and research center, so I thought, ‘What better place to set the scene than right here at home.’”

Having originally started the book in 1996, Rossin’s writing process was spread out over many years.

“I got busy with life and family and work and set it aside,” Rossin said. “I found the manuscript I had written and picked it up and finished it. That took five to six months.”

However, the character of Danny has stayed true to Rossin’s original inspiration throughout the revision process.

“My mom’s story was part of the inspiration for Danny. She was born in rural Iowa, and, unlike the rest of her friends, she didn’t want to stay in her small town,” Rossin said. “She went to the University of Minnesota and studied journalism.”

Since the novel’s publication, Rossin has received positive feedback and requests for more books from her readers.

“It’s a page turner. They couldn’t wait to find out what happens,” Rossin said. “People say, ‘Oh my gosh, I really believe this could happen’ after reading the book.’”

And Rossin does intend to continue Danny’s story with a second book, partially because of requests from readers, but also because she enjoys the writing process so much.

“It’s just really fun to take the imaginative thoughts I have in my head and just put them down on paper,” Rossin said. “I could not believe how exciting it was to see the book in print.”