Author Dismayed Over Death Threats Following the Publication of The Watchman’s Rattle

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Author Rebecca Costa looks back on the first year of her critically acclaimed publication, The Watchman's Rattle.

In a recent interview to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the publication of The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction, author, Rebecca Costa, said “the year has been filled with highs and lows that no first-time writer could have anticipated.” Upon publication, the book received immediate critical acclaim from the American Library Journal as one of the top science books of 2010, followed by ABC News affiliates naming Costa’s work the top “green” book of the year. Larry King quickly jumped on the bandwagon selecting The Watchman’s Rattle as his “Pick of The Week” and overnight, Costa was off to the races, giving daily television and radio interviews as well as making live appearances at conferences such as TED, The Nantucket Project, and corporate events around the country. An unusual mix of celebrities and thought-leaders including adventurist, Richard Branson, publishing tycoon, Tina Brown, Nobel Laureate, James Watson, businessman, Donald Trump, Senators Bill Bradley and Bill Richardson, naturalist, E. O. Wilson, and activist wife of musician Sting, Trudie Styler, along with many others, lined up to offer praise for Costa’s historic work. And during the first year of its release, The Watchman’s Rattle was translated by publishers in more than 30 countries around the world.

But according to Costa, the biggest surprise has been the radio program which resulted from the book. Costa teamed up with Broadcast Affiliate Sales in Dallas, Texas, to syndicate a weekly 2-hour program called The Costa Report. As of this date, the program has over 3 million listeners and Broadcast Affiliate Sales plans to take the show into 26 additional markets in the next six months.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that the book has received so much attention. That said, no author considers the dark side of becoming a public personality. . . I never expected to receive so many death threats simply for using the word evolution. Who knew that evolution was the second most controversial word in the English language just after (the word) abortion,” remarked Costa.

Since the publication of The Watchman’s Rattle - a book that posits that the political, social and economical turmoil around the world is due to an “evolutionary pattern of human ascension and collapse” - Costa has received a wave of death threats urging the author to cease publication of her book and to end her radio program. Costa’s response? “Why would anyone waste their time threatening an evolutionary biologist? What would be the point? Next thing you know these same folks will be demanding to shut down every natural history museum.”

Despite the death threats, Costa claims she is deeply humbled by the response to her book, which, she admits, took six years to complete. “I could see that something was happening to us – all of us – and we just couldn’t put our finger on it. Life was starting to get harder, more confusing, and more erratic. It took me a long time to unravel the real cause of our collective gridlock. And now some people want to muzzle the truth.”

Based on her initial foray into public life, does Costa have any advice for first-time writers? “Never underestimate how long it takes for word-of-mouth to spread. Many readers are just hearing about The Watchman’s Rattle for the first time, after a year. Also, never underestimate the numbers of critics that show up when you write anything of substance. My advice is to invest in an asbestos suit,” jokes Costa. Her publisher agrees. In a highly unusual move, Vanguard Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group, rescinded the paperback version of The Watchman’s Rattle slated for the Spring of 2012, electing instead to re-introduce the hardcover. Vanguard Press based their decision on the steady rise in publicity the book has enjoyed throughout its first year in print. “Slow and steady my not be sexy, but it still wins the race,” concluded Costa.

About Rebecca D. Costa

Rebecca Costa is a sociobiologist who offers a genetic explanation for current events and emerging trends. A new voice in the mold of Thomas Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell and Jared Diamond, Costa examines “the big picture”– tracing everything from terrorism, crime on Wall Street, epidemic obesity and upheaval in the Middle East to evolutionary imperatives. Retiring from her executive career in Silicon Valley, Costa spent six years researching and writing The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction. The success of Costa’s book led to a weekly radio program in 2010 called The Costa Report as well as a weekly television news program called Countermeasures which launched in 2011. A former CEO and founder of one of the largest marketing firms in Silicon Valley (sold in 1997 to J. Walter Thompson), Costa developed a track record of introducing new technologies to mainstream markets. Her clients included industry giants such as Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer, Oracle Corporation, Seibel Systems, 3M, Amdahl, and General Electric Corporation.

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