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Home page: http://andrewdcarlson.com
Posts by Andrew 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 I’d rather start here than solicit other bloggers that probably aren’t interested in blogging about me. (That’s kind of like cold-querying agents with manuscripts!)
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!
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 I’d rather start here than cold-solicit other bloggers that probably aren’t interested in blogging about me. (That’s kind of like cold-querying agents with manuscripts!)
But if you are 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!
In 2013, my goal is to receive 100 additional reviews for both books in my Sue series:
Sue’s Fingerprint and Sue’s Vision.
A sticky, gel-like substance arrives on Earth. The “goo” is analyzed by scientists who realize the substance is not of this planet. And quickly, the Department of Homeland Security receives reports of more animals appearing in parks and zoos all over the country. And then come the reports of new people appearing. Sue is the first of the new people identified and retrieved by Ted Stevens of DHS. She and the other cloned humans are contained on an abandoned military base while Ted determines what to do with the new people. While living at their ‘new home’, the clones quickly deduce where they came from and why they were here on Earth. It is then that Sue escapes to deliver the clones’ alien message. Find out how the first book ends! Then keep reading to see what happens next to the clones in the sequel!
To learn more, click on the SUE’S FINGERPRINT and SUE’S VISION tabs above.
To meet this review challenge, I’m giving away 100 free kindle (.MOBI) versions of Sue’s Fingerprint and Sue’s Vision. To win one copy of each book, all you have to do is click on the CONTACT ME tab above to send me an email message requesting kindle (.MOBI) copies of the books. And tell me more about your interest in the books—I’d like to know what caught your attention. Type “2013 Sue Review Challenge” in the subject field.
Of course, this giveaway is about getting reviews, so there is another thing for you to do: please provide a review of the two books on Goodreads.com and/or Amazon.com.
If you want to help me spread the word about this giveaway, I’d be happy if you tweeted the following: Do the GOO! Go to http://bit.ly/ifISGa for FREE e-copies of SUE’S FINGERPRINT & SUE’S VISION by @andrewdcarlson #kindle #scifi #yalit
I hope you enjoy Sue! Do the GOO!
If you look at my bookshelf on www.goodreads.com, you will see that I have recently read The Hobbit, Animal Farm and 1984. These are three books likely to have been dubbed “classics” by readers. These are not classics.
For me, Ender’s Game is a classic. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a classic. The Harry Potter books are classic, just to name a few.
Why are these classics? What defines a classic for me?
Three criteria: (1) they are entertaining, (2) they stand the test of time, and (3) they make me want to read more.
The Hobbit and the books by George Orwell may stand the test of time, but they were not overly entertaining for me, nor did they really inspire me to read more by the author. My classics, however, did meet all three criteria. The books were fresh, unique, funny, fast-paced, and timeless. And these books led me to read four more Ender books, the rest of the Hitchhiker’s series and, of course, once I read the first HP, I had to read them all—which made waiting for #6 and #7 practically unbearable.
Are there other classics? Maybe the Hunger Games trilogy. It may not be “classic” now, but in a year or two it might be. Twighlight? No. Okay… I have to add a fourth criterion here: they must be good writing. It doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece, but it’s got to be technically good. The Twilight books are not good writing. I’ll throw Fool by Christopher Moore on my list of classics. I loved it. And it inspired me to read more by Moore.
Popularity, number of copies sold, awards received, etc. are not my requirements for a book to be a classic. For me, a classic keeps me reading, reading more, and even re-reading.
Shelley Workinger delivers another great novel with Sound, the finale (?) of the Solid series.
The story starts with Clio dealing with the fall-out of the events from Settling, and then jumps into the new event to deal with.
The pace of the novel is fast—something we’ve come to expect and enjoy with these books. Turn to the first page and buckle up for the ride. If you’ve read the previous two stories, you’ll feel like you’ve been dropped right back in the camp and haven’t missed a beat.
I won’t spoil any part of the plot, but will say that the climax sneaks up on you. You’re waiting for it and then BAM! And through dealing with the crisis du jour, Clio and her friends resolve their issues, tie up the past and look to the future.
If I have only one criticism, it’s that I think we could have learned a lot more about Clio and her circle of friends. Of course, that would require 2-3 more books.
Although this is the conclusion to the Solid trilogy, I hope that Shelley will consider starting a new trilogy to take readers on a continuing ride through the next stage of Clio and her friends’ lives.
On my ‘scientific’ rating scale of 0-100 degrees Celsius, with 100 degrees being boiling (red-hot awesome), Solid reaches 95 degrees C. A great read!
0.4 by Mike A. Lancaster is a very creative sci-fi concept.
This novel is a well-written story of Kyle Straker, one of the nought point four. The story is the transcript of a tape recording that the main character made to document his life and the events that unfolded. (I won’t say more for fear of spoiling.) The use of this tape-recording narrative tool allowed the author flexibility to deliver the plot. I really enjoyed this.
I also enjoyed the basic story line: the ‘upgrade’ delivered to Earth wirerlessly from space from an unseen alien species. It reminded me of my own novel, Sue’s Fingerprint, in which an alien message–a memory–is delivered to Earth through an alien substance (“goo”) that clones Earth’s residents. So needless to say, I really liked the plot.
There are only two criticisms I have:
- The author could have played more with the relationship between Kyle and Lilly. There could have been more ups and downs between them, given their past. I would have liked to see the relationship explored more.
- The story ended too abruptly, or maybe too conveniently. I think the author could have added more to the plot to built a lot more suspense and, thus, a bigger and more intense climax to the book. The resolution wasn’t complete, nor was it overly rewarding.
Despite these (admittedly picky) criticisms, I still enjoyed this book and will be reading the sequel, 1.4, when it’s released.
On my rating scale of 0-100 degrees, 0.4 is 80 degrees. A worthy read for sure!