The gym wall was always filled with Post-it notes during workouts.
That was the only way James Davison and Raymond Eddy could plot out their book. Some writers need total solitude, but a dose of muscle building-induced endorphins was the creative elixir for these authors.
"People would just stare at us," Davison said. "I guess they thought we were crazy."
And if their fellow gymgoers listened in, they would have thought their suspicions confirmed hearing talk of radiation sickness antidotes, time travel, cloaking devices, Japanese dynasties, the risks of nuclear power and the Rolling Stones — all in one conversation.
But the ideas meld as perfectly as the ingredients in a fine Louisiana gumbo in the co-authors' newly released novel, "Trinity 3.11 Amiko: Empress of the Kensho Era."
Davison was born in Shreveport, where he grew up and later worked as a television videographer and producer. He lives and works in law enforcement in Washington, D.C., where he met Eddy through weightlifting.
"I was lifting weights with some colleagues one day, and I started talking to this guy," Davison said. "I found out that he was a public health expert and an academic working on a paper about the national health conditions in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster."
Eddy also was a leader in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear preparedness, or CBRN. The Indiana native quickly learned that Davison was well-versed in the workings of nuclear power plants, and their conversations progressed from Fukushima to the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania. Then, there was Chernobyl in 1986.
The authors thought the accidents had storytelling potential. They wanted to get the word out the about the risks involved in nuclear energy through something more than an academic paper.
"Raymond's paper was well-done, but we knew people weren't going to sit down and read it for fun," Davison said. "We needed to get the word out to everyday people outside the scientific world."
That was four years ago.
"Trinity 3.11" was published in May by Amazon, which offers the novel in both paperback and digital formats.
The story is the first in a three-part series, where characters time travel from past to present to future and back. Secret military developments make the idea plausible, as does an experimental antidote to ward off radiation sickness with an anti-aging side effect.
In the novel, scientists Akira Nishihana, of Japan, and American Raymond Savage forge an alliance shortly after the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945.
Akira develops and self-tests the radiation sickness antidote, but the formula is lost during the bombing. He shares a surviving tube of the medicine with Savage, and the two embark on a mission to prevent nuclear devastation.
Meanwhile, Akira's niece, Amiko Tokugawa, meets and marries Raymond's son, Elijah, one of the United States' foremost health experts with a love for the Rolling Stones. Amiko wields power as a member of Japan's royal line, and the two embark on their own mission to expose the dangers surrounding nuclear energy after the Fukushima accident.
But was Fukushima really an accident? Akira and Raymond connect dots along the way, tying the deliberate devastation caused by the Fat Man and Little Boy atomic bombs to the destruction caused by the power plants.
Into the mix add a mysterious Mr. Beck, who shadows the two scientists at every point, and the accidents suddenly don't look so accidental.
But who is this Mr. Beck?
"You'll find out more about him in the next book," Eddy said. "We're already finishing it up. Is he really a bad guy? We can't say right now."
With its mix of historical and futuristic themes, Davison and Eddy call it "speculative fiction," where real science and history are used in a speculative way.
And the real science here sometimes can be scary, especially when the book points out that plutonium, not uranium, was used to bomb Nagasaki. Plutonium also was used to power energy in one of the Fukushima plant towers.
Unleashed plutonium continues to emit radiation for thousands of years.
"In that way, Fukushima is the most devastating nuclear accident in history," Eddy said. "And there's really no way to dispense with the spent nuclear rods. In the second book, we're going to look at the nuclear power plants in the United States."
There are 60 across the nation, two in Louisiana.
As the scientists try to prevent disaster, Mr. Beck is always looming. Stay tuned.