Review: A Slow, Cold Death
A Slow Cold Death by Susy Gage
This book was sent to me so I could provide a prepub blurb. What does that mean? Take a look at this…
Yup, that’s my name on the back of the book. You know what? It’s just about as exciting as having my name on the front of a book.
This book was a lot of fun. It’s a murder mystery set in an academic university. I’ve never read a book about the crazy world of PhD researchers, though I know a little bit about it from my friends and family who are academics. The story takes place in a physics department and one of the things I most loved about it was the kooky cast of characters.
Particularly Lou, who was paralyzed in a car accident fairly recently and it comes to light that his accident may not have been so accidental. The details of paralysis were right on and I honestly could have read an entire book of just him and Lori (the main character) going on bike rides together.
I got in touch with the author when I sent her my blurb and she agreed to do a little interview about the book. Hope you enjoy!
1. You are a physics professor (so cool!). What made you want to write a book?
¬†2. There are so few books that pull back the curtain on the wacky academic life. What inspired the story itself?
¬†3. I appreciate the portrayal of Lou as a realistic and balanced character who is also a wheelchair user. What kind of research did you do to¬†achieve¬†that?
¬†4. What made you interested in including a paralyzed character in the story?
Finally, I am passionate about equal rights, and that everyone deserves a chance to make his or her mark on the world. There are very few physical disabilities that can’t be overcome with a clever gadget. One of my students was legally blind, and actually became a microscopist with the aid of a big screen that could blow things up very big and change the colours, contrast, etc. It was downright fun for me to help develop the tools so she could succeed–it’s not hard to open your mind and say YES, this can work, we just need to figure out how. Part of the goal of this book series is to show how things can be done with adaptations of various kinds. For the moment, Lou is mostly a theorist, but in the next few books he’ll be doing all sorts of complex experiments and will have to come up with adaptations mostly on his own (and with Lori, of course).
¬†5.¬†What was the process of getting published like?
Long and a bit arduous, but highly educational. I submitted the manuscript to many large and small publishers and agents, and got a lot of nibbles before a real bite. One of the most important things I learned was to pitch a book, if possible, in person. It was always more effective to see someone face to face at a literary conference or workshop and to talk about the book there. This was very hard for me at first–I’m shy, and I felt like a dilettante or faker. Some people even said things like “Don’t quit your day job!” or “Your day job means you’re not serious about fiction.” There’s also a kind of funny story about small publishers who say they “specialize in science or fiction about science”–I’ve found 3 of them, but only one of them was actually still in business by the time I contacted them! The first time I saw such a description, it was in a Bay Area weekly newspaper that had a long feature. I was really excited and ran home to write up a query letter, but then checked the press’s website and found that they now only did something like “translations of medieval Hungarian poetry.” Really? What? I think things are changing now for small publishers, because of e-books and print on demand. The hardest part is then getting the book seen! (Though it’s also hard through a big publisher–I have a textbook through one of the really big ones, and I think it’s sold a total of 4 copies‚Ä¶)
¬†6. Are there plans for more books with these characters?
Absolutely! Lou and Lori are coming back with a whole series of adventures‚Ä¶ the goal is to showcase a different kind of science in each one. The sequel, Not Easy Being Green, will be about a virus leak from the biosafety containment lab‚Ä¶ What happens when physicists start playing with HIV in a rabies coat? Nothing good, that’s for sure.
¬†7. What else would you like us to know?
Kindle:¬†http://www.amazon.com/A-Slow-Cold-Death-ebook/dp/B00ACCJM28 (They don’t seem to be linked yet!)