Interview #2 with Andrew D. Carlson
This is a series of blogs 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!
Welcome back readers! This is the second part of the interview with author Andrew D. Carlson, author of two published Earth-based, light sci-fi novels in the Sue series; Sue’s Fingerprint and Sue’s Vision. Today we’ll learn more about Sue!
Host: Welcome back, Andrew.
Andrew: Thanks. Glad to be here.
Host: Last we talked, you told us your motivation for writing and how science plays a part in all of your stories. Can we talk about your books?
Andrew: I’d love to.
Host: Tell us about the Sue series. How did you get the idea for Sue?
Andrew: The idea for the Sue books came to me as a dream. I know, I know… how cliché. But it’s true. The vision I first had was for a mutant rat that was obviously not right. The rat was at the window of a little girl’s bedroom scratching and clawing to get inside. In my dream, the rat did make it inside. In Sue’s Fingerprint, that vision became the opening chapter where a determined ground squirrel tries to get inside Karen’s bedroom. Luckily, it didn’t make it. But readers will know that the squirrel was not normal. As readers find out, it’s a clone.
Host: A clone. You mean a copy of another squirrel?
Andrew: Yes, it is an exact copy of another ground squirrel. It was cloned when the original ground squirrel touched the alien goo that landed on Earth.
Host: Hold on… ‘alien goo’?
Andrew: You bet. That’s the sci-fi part of the book: an alien substance, the ‘goo’, lands on Earth. And any mammal that touches the substance is cloned. An exact copy is created from the goo. But since it is alien goo, the copies aren’t really exact copies. They’re genetically the same, but…
Host: They don’t act exactly the same, do they?
Andrew: The cloned animals have different behavior traits as readers find out.
Host: And by ‘animals’ you also mean humans, don’t you?
Andrew: Yep, like Sue.
Host: Tell us about Sue.
Andrew: Sue was the first human cloned from the alien goo. She appeared when Karen’s mother, Susan, was cleaning her garden and touched some of the goo that landed among her tomato plants. When Susan turned around, she was staring at an exact copy of herself, standing naked in the yard.
Host: What did Susan do?
Andrew: What would you do if you stood in front of a copy of yourself? She freaked out. She ran to her neighbor’s house for help. In the mean time, Sue went inside and sat at the kitchen table. That’s when Karen met Sue. And Karen also freaked out. She ran across the street to David’s house because her mother (the woman who she thought was her mother) was sitting at the table with no clothes on and didn’t recognize her own daughter.
Host: And then what?
Andrew: David and Karen returned to the house, and Susan returned with Petunia, her neighbor. They all stood in the kitchen and tried to make sense of it. They finally deduced that Sue appeared after Susan touched what she thought was a rotten tomato: the alien goo. David called the local deputy sheriff to come around and take a look.
Host: Did he take Sue away?
Andrew: And do what with her? No, Spike, the deputy, said he’d have to make some calls before he could do anything. He told Susan not to let the new person have access to any newspapers or TV or anything that might give her an idea of where she was or where she came from. They all agreed that was the safest thing to do.
Host: So they just left Sue at the house staring at the walls?
Andrew: Well, you see, she was staying at the house with Karen, who is a very precocious six year-old. Karen started reading her books to Sue, who, in turn started to learn how to read Karen’s books. And we find out that Sue learns very quickly.
Host: And we also learn that more humans are cloned, correct?
Andrew: Yes, more animals and more people. That is when the DHS Agent, Ted Stevens, has to take action. His scientist friends at the lab in Manhattan, Kansas, have analyzed the goo as best as they can, and determined it was not from Earth. So Ted knows that he has a problem. The more new animals and people that appear, the more the general public will start to react. And he knows it won’t be a good reaction. It’d be more like panic.
Host: So Ted rounds up the new people, right?
Andrew: Yes. He travels the country and collects the new people–the clones–that have been reported by local law enforcement, and takes them to an abandoned military base in the California desert. That is where the ‘aliens’ are to be contained.
Host: And what does Ted do with them there?
Andrew: They’re given clothes, some children’s movies to watch and children’s books to read. The clones are taught how to cook for themselves by the staff at the base. They learn how to take care of themselves. And the child clones have counselors to watch over them—like at a camp. This is, in my opinion, the funny part of the book where the clones discover the most about themselves.
Host: So that’s it? They just exist there and they’re happy?
Andrew: Not exactly. You see, the adult clones talk to each other. And being fast learners, especially Sue, they figure out that they have appeared on Earth as a result of a substance. They realize that they, the ‘residents’ of the base, are all different. Sue wants to know more.
Andrew: More ‘residents’ are brought to the base, bringing the total to 11 clones, six adults and five children. After hearing the newcomers’ stories of how they ‘arrived’, Sue puts the pieces together. She knows why they’re at the base. And that’s when she gets a message.
Host: A message?
Andrew: A message that came from the alien goo. That’s when the reader knows that the clones aren’t exact copies.
Host: What happens? What does Sue do?
Andrew: I can’t spoil the story. You’ll just have to find out by reading the book. But I can say that since there is a sequel to the story, Sue’s Fingerprint ends well enough to keep going.
Host: So on that note, we’ll end this session of the interview. Can you tell us about the sequel, Sue’s Vision, next time?
Andrew: I think I can. I don’t think I’ll spoil too much if I give a little about Sue’s Vision.
Host: I look forward to it. And I hope readers will tune in next time!