Interview with Andrew D. Carlson
This is the first in a new series of blogs that I’m writing to introduce myself and my books. I realize it’s a little unconventional for an author to interview him/herself, but hey… I’m a little unconventional!
If you’re a book blogger and are reading this, I’d be thrilled to have you syndicate this interview series. Please feel free to re-post or give a shout-out link. Also, I’d be happy to do an exclusive interview with you on your blog. Either way, please feel free to contact me. Thanks!
Welcome readers! This is the first blog in a series of interviews with Andrew D. Carlson, author of two published Earth-based, light sci-fi novels in the Sue series; Sue’s Fingerprint and Sue’s Vision. I also understand he’s got a couple other books in the works that I hope he’ll share with us.
Host: Welcome to this author interview, Mr. Carlson, and thank you for giving us your time.
Carlson: Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity, and please, call me Andrew. I actually don’t like it when readers/reviewers refer to me as ‘Mr. Carlson’ or simply ‘Carlson’. It rubs me the wrong way. I much prefer to be addressed as Andrew.
Host: Fair enough, Andrew. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Andrew: I’d be happy to. I’m in my forties, living in California with my wife and son. Although my exterior (and some bits of my interior) is forty years old, I don’t feel that old. I actually think I’m still in my early twenties. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis, but I’ve never gotten ‘old’ in my head. I love to laugh, and make jokes. I have a potty mouth and I talk loud. I love to drive fast (don’t tell the cops). I listen to punk music, 80’s rock and even a little rap (my son introduced me). If it’s got a lot of bass and a funky beat I can tap my feet to, I’ll listen to it. And usually the lyrics aren’t exactly approved for all ages. *rolls eyes in shame*
Host: So what have you been doing for the past twenty years while your body aged but your mind didn’t?
Andrew: I have a Bachelor’s of Arts in Chemistry from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. UM YA YA! And yes, you read correctly; that’s a BA, not a BS. As a scientist friend of mine liked to say, “I can make small-talk at parties.” After graduation, I took a job in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry and I’ve been there ever since. I have held positions in analytical and pharmaceutical development, project management, regulatory affairs and quality. The closer I am to science and data, the happier I am. Deep down, I’m a geek.
Host: How has your professional career influenced your writing?
Andrew: I put science into all of my books. My goal is to entertain all of my readers, but I also want to educate readers if only just a little. I weave chemistry, biology, biochemistry and even a little astrophysics into my stories. For example, in Sue’s Fingerprint, I introduced a gel-like substance, the “Goo” as it’s called, that clones mammals. And the scientists in the book analyze the substance and describe how complex it is—in technical biochemical terms. There is a non-scientist that translates from geek-speak to normal English for the readers, but the technical details are there. I also get into a little discussion of just how big the galaxy is and how long it might have taken for the “Goo” to get to Earth.
Host: With all the ‘geek-speak’ as you call it, do you think it’s too much for your readers?
Andrew: I don’t think so. In fact, from the reviews I’ve received, the science details are clearly explained such that non-geeks can understand. If I may quote Katelyn Torrey from Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands: “Andrew definitely put his knowledge of science to use in this book which I totally loved! One semester of college science was enough for me but I really enjoyed the way that Andrew introduced the science aspect in this book. He took simple terms that many people, science degrees or not, could grasp. I don’t want to say he dumbed it down by any means but he definitely took complex terms and ideas and then explained them in a way that a lot of readers could picture and understand.”
I do my best to keep the science in my books technical enough to not dilute the science, but explain it to those that aren’t science nerds like me.
Host: Are the plots of your books all about science?
Andrew: No, they aren’t. Sue’s Fingerprint is a story of humans cloned from an alien substance that arrives on Earth. The ‘aliens’ are contained on an abandoned military base by a DHS agent. But while housing the new people, the DHS agent and the staff at the base come to realize the clones are people, just like you and me, who simply want to live their own lives. In the sequel, Sue’s Vision, the clones have a message to deliver. And that message attracts the attention of others in the government who are not so understanding. In my Sue books, science is just a means of enhancing the details of the plot. I use science to explain behavior or events. Science even helps to predict the future. You’ll have to read Sue’s Vision to find out more.
In my latest work in progress, tentatively titled Senior Experiment, science is central to the plot, but the story is not about science experiments. The story centers on the protagonist’s rage and desire for retribution towards another student who stole his idea for the senior experiment. The plot follows Anthony through his ups and (mainly) downs as he struggles to right the wrong. And, of course, there’s the matter of the romance he’s trying to maintain with his new girlfriend mixed in with his obsession for justice. But I’ll talk more about that later.
Host: Sounds good, Andrew, and thank you!
Andrew: My pleasure.
Host: We’ll have to wrap up this first blog there. But there will be more blogs in the future. The interview with Andrew D. Carlson will continue. We’ll talk more about his Sue series and his works in progress. Readers, please tell your online friends and your in-person friends (or family) about this interview. Join us next time!
Andrew: I look forward to the next round!