Rhea Harmsen is a scientist, novelist and author of Language of the Spirit, a volume of selected poems. Harmsen was born in a family with a black father and a white mother at a time when interracial marriage was still illegal in some states. Her parents gave her a vision of world citizenship that informs her writing and her lifestyle and has caused her to reject traditional views of race and gender. She has published on issues of gender equality and race relations, with the hope of inspiring social change. Her article “Science in the Hands of Women: Present Barriers, Future Promise” appeared in World Order in 1998 and provides the foundation for the story line for her novel The Harvest of Reason. Harmsen holds a doctorate in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently resides in Puerto Rico.
African American Ph.D. student Maddie Hawkins loves science, but the world of academia is a minefield of sexism, racism and egoism. Blue-eyed graduate student John Pitts is a cocky genius, an individualist and a lady’s man; everything Maddie disapproves of. Yet the heart leads you where reason would forbid, "and when the fire of love is ablaze" it burns "to ashes the harvest of reason."