Please give a warm welcome to today’s author, Charles Suddeth.
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1. Can you tell us a bit about your book, Neanderthal Protocol?
It is a thriller, but it has a strong dose of science fiction. It is set in the near future in Louisville, Kentucky. The Supreme Court has ruled that Neanderthals are not human beings. Greg is a physicist working on cold fusion. He gets the results of his DNA test back, and he’s not pleased.
2. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?
It just snuck up on me. First it was fun. Then, you mean they’re going to pay me to have fun? More ideas flooded me, and I chose the ones I thought people would enjoy the most.
3. What inspired you to write Neanderthal Protocol?
I’ve always been fascinated with the disappearance and fate of Neanderthals, but I know human nature. Someone, somewhere “married” a Neanderthal. I wrote a short story about a present-day Neanderthal. A friend made a few suggestions, but it took the plot in an entirely different direction and to a novel. I operate under an old principle: Take the reader where the reader is not expecting to go.
4. Your main character, Greg, is working on hydrogen fusion. What exactly is hydrogen fusion?
Hydrogen fusion is the fusion of two hydrogen atoms to produce one helium atom plus energy. Hydrogen bombs and stars produce vast amounts of energy this way. Greg was working on a method to control that fusion and produce heat for electric power. There are several methods under research, but none have been perfected yet.
5. How do you take an idea from a basic concept to a finished manuscript?
Long story. I need to have a good idea of the beginning and the ending of the story before I start writing. Research, lots of research. Once the rough draft is finished, I begin editing, revising and submitting the manuscript to critique groups. I read it aloud until I’m hoarse and my cats hate me.
6. Why did you choose an ebook publisher instead of a print publisher?
My children’s books are print only, so this is an experiment for me. I don’t want the world to pass me by, so I like to try new things. I just bought a Nook. I think that in a few years an equilibrium will be reached, with both print and ebooks taking a stable share of the market.
7. What steps do you take to make your submission package shine?
I edit and revise it over and over again, then I let critique groups and beta readers help me. The first chapter has to go WOW! Then I find something unique about my manuscript, and I write a hook for it, something to catch a busy editor’s eye.
8. How did you market your work?
I am just learning to market ebooks. I am trying social networks, blog tours, and websites for readers. I also belong to organizations like SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) and International Thriller Writers. I go to conferences like Killer Nashville (for mystery/thriller writers & readers).
9. If you could give an aspiring writer any one piece of advice, what would it be?
Write what’s inside you, and don’t worry if it’s adult, children’s, fiction, poetry, and don’t try to decide if it’s good or bad right away.
10. What are you working on now that readers can look forward to?
4RV Publishing will release two of my books this spring: SPEARFINGER!, a picture book about a Cherokee witch—the illustrator has this. Experiment 38, a young adult thriller that my editor says is almost done. If Neanderthal Protocol is a success, I have a manuscript that I would like to submit to Musa Publishing when I’m through editing it. Whistle Pig is set in 1955 on the rural Kentucky/Tennessee border. A man and woman try to clear each other’s names. She’s accused of armed robbery and murder. He’s accused of killing a couple in a lover’s triangle. The title is a long story.
Bio: Charles Suddeth was born in Indiana, grew up Michigan, and has spent his adult life in Kentucky. He lives in Louisville with his two cats. He is a graduate of Michigan State University. He belongs to the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), International Thriller Writers, and Green River Writers. He likes to spend his days hiking and writing in nearby Tom Sawyer State Park. His first book, Halloween Kentucky Style, was published in October 2010. His second book, Neanderthal Protocol, was published in November 2012.
You can purchase Neanderthal Protocol here.