Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Charles Suddeth, Neanderthal Protocol

AUTHOR: Charles Suddeth

BOOK TITLE: Neanderthal Protocol

GENRE: thriller

PUBLISHER: Musa Publishing


Please tell us about yourself:
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. His first book, Halloween Kentucky Style, was published in 2010. His second book, Neanderthal Protocol, was published in November 2012.

Please tell us your latest news:
4RV Publishing will release Spearfinger, a picture book, and Experiment 38, a young adult thriller.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I am a full-time writer with no organizational skills. I live alone and write whenever I feel like it, but I write daily.

When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote a short story for a sixth grade English assignment, and I have never quit writing.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I have always written just for fun. Some tales just can’t be crammed into a short story.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I like to spend my days hiking and writing in nearby Tom Sawyer State Park. (Thinking about writing sneaks into everything) I also have a girlfriend who doesn’t appreciate being ignored.

What are your thoughts about promotion?
It is still a learning process for me. What works for some won’t work for everyone, but online sites are becoming very important, even for print.

What was the biggest compliment?
A teacher read the rough draft of my picture book, Spearfinger, to her third graders. They sent me letters telling me how much they enjoyed it

Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
I don’t do anything specific, but I believe this affects me sub-consciously.

Do you ever have writer’s block? 
No. I have too many ideas and so little time.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
I always learn a ton from writing books, background and new ways to make my stories fun. Too much to fit in in this interview. The editors teach me the most.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
4RV Publishing is my latest publisher. I connected to them via a query. They requested a revision of Experiment 38. They asked for the right to examine my other manuscripts. Next, they read my picture book, Spearfinger, and also accepted it.

What is your marketing plan?
I am developing author pages for Facebook Pinterest, Goodreads, Twitter, and others. I am Facebook friending several bookstores, so when my next print book comes out, they will know my name.

What are your current projects?
I am writing a YA fantasy, Osiris Must Die, about a high school senior who dreams he is the Egyptian god, Osiris. Then people try to kill him. I am leaning toward magical realism to avoid any cartoonish aspects of fantasy.

What do you plan for the future?
Four years ago, I wrote an adult mystery set in 1955, Whistle Pig. I am going to revise that then go back to writing new middle-grade fiction.

How can we find you?
Twitter: @CharlesSuddeth

Any other news you’d like to share?
Nothing specific, but I’m always writing with readers in mind.

What genre do you write in and why?
Since I write plot-driven fiction, my genres vary—thriller, mystery, fantasy, and historical. I write anything from picture books to adult books, it depends on the story.

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.
Neanderthal Protocol (adult thriller, Musa Publishing, eBook)
After cold-fusion physicist Greg Anderson’s DNA test marks him as a Neanderthal, he is forced to live like an animal. Rachel helps him search for the organization trying to destroy him.
PDF, ePUB (Nook, iPad, Android), PRC (Kindle), Mobi

What gave you the idea for this particular book?
I wrote a short story that was a little depressing. Someone asked me what if? This book grew from that idea, minus the depressing parts.

Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
I outline now. For Neanderthal Protocol, I wrote it out on paper. I usually need an opening and ending before I outline. During the outlining process, I fill in the middle.

What comes first: the plot or characters?
I hate to separate them. To me, it’s like a question such as Would you rather lose your eyes or ears? Or your legs or your arms.

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?
I love the main character’s girlfriend, Rachel, because she has beauty and guts, and wants to do the right thing, but her temper often rules her.
The main character’s ex-wife I hate and pity. She’s cold and cruel, so she can get head. Deep within her, she knows better but she can’t control herself.

Which characters were the hardest to develop and why?
The main character, Greg, was hard because he had to be brave and resourceful yet weak enough to allow the bad guys a chance to ruin him.
Also, Greg’s ex-wife was hard. My first impulse was to make her into a total villain, but I realized she possesses a stubbornness that borders on admirable.

How did you decide how your characters should look?
I didn’t decide, I let my subconscious decide. The main character, Greg, doesn’t look like me. Afterwards, I realized that Rachel, his girlfriend, resembled my late wife (I wrote the rough draft while she was alive).

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?
As I mentioned, a short story dealt in Neanderthals living in the present. A what-if led to this story.

Did your book require a lot of research?
Yes, but I have always been interested in the fate of Neanderthals.

If so, what kind?
In the 1990’s l learned that a Neanderthal hyoid bone/cartilage had been discovered, which meant they could speak. If they could speak, they were human and closer to us than we had realized. DNA research has since confirmed this. I placed the story in Louisville, so location research was not necessary.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you?
Violent scenes and sexual sometimes bother me.

Why or why not?
Seeing people die and suffer is painful, even if they are a product of my mind. Sex is tricky because you need to balance it between offending people and not making it realistic.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Working with the editors and fighting for the parts I want left in were the hardest.

How long does it take to write a book, and what is your process?
I don’t rush, so the rough draft may take close to a year. But I tend to edit as I go.

What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for release?
In addition to Neanderthal Protocol, I have:
Halloween Kentucky Style (middle readers, Diversion Press, paperback)
Mike and Timmy try to scare Alice and Rosie. The trick’s on them when a younger neighbor and a homeless man team up to give them a real Halloween scare!

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I spend time in Tom Sawyer State Park, only a quarter mile from my house. I have a girlfriend and two grown sons.

What book are you currently reading?
I usually read more than one book at a time, but right now I’m just reading Anne Perry’s A Sunless Sea.
What do you like or not like about it?
I like her style and her plotting. (Historical murder mystery), but she publishes 4 books a year, and I feel that this novel was hastily edited.

What books have most influenced your life?
Tough question. Steinbeck’s books taught me how to craft stories. Lad, by Douglas Terhune taught me to respect animals. And Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass taught me the power of words.

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?
Another tough question: quirky, forgiving, happy, mystic, loving, calm, dreamer

Describe your writing space.
I write in the kitchen (I live alone). I sometimes edit at Starbucks. No cottages in the deep, dark woods for me.

What has been your favorite part of being an author?
Sharing stories with people.
What has been your least favorite?
Querying agents and editors. (I hope none are reading this)

What is the strangest thing a reader asked you?
A picture book listener (third grade) asked me if I ever thought about becoming a writer after having had my picture book manuscript read to him.

Blurb for Neanderthal Protocol

Neanderthal Protocol (adult thriller, Musa Publishing, eBook)
Greg Anderson is a physicist working on Project Cold Sun, which will generate electricity via hydrogen fusion. After a DNA test exposes him as a Neanderthal, he lives on the streets like a wild animal. Near death, he meets Rachel Waters.
            After Greg’s former boss is murdered, the police blame Greg. Rachel helps Greg search for the killers. Can Rachel and Greg find the people who are trying to destroy Project Cold Sun before the police charge Greg with murder and execute him?

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