Our guest today is Ted Grosch, an American science fiction author of the novel Quantum Level Zero and other published short stories. He has a Ph.D. and teaches electrical engineering and has published over 25 works of fiction and non-fiction. He lives in Georgia where he works with wood and trains dogs.
Thank you for this interview, Ted. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Ted: I’ve been a serious writer for about 12 years. I only count the time since I joined critiques groups and wrote stories that I sent out. I’ve been writing for long time, but didn’t consider it a hobby. I must have been a dopey kid because I didn’t think people make a living writing fiction. I grew up in a small coal-mining town in western Pennsylvania. All my friend’s dads worked for a living, except a couple who were insurance agents. My goal was to go to college, get a good job, and retire with a pension.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Ted: I am an electrical engineer. I’ve worked at Hughes Aircraft and General Electric. I earned my Ph.D. in 1993 and have researched missile defense and designed cellular base stations. I’m an assistant professor and I consult when I’m not writing.
Can you tell us briefly what your book, Quantum Level Zero, is about?
Ted: The story explores the tail the final years of war on terror, which the west is losing. After a half-century of attacks and bombing, economies have collapsed and the United Nations is in charge of many parts of the world. QLZ follows three characters:
Eli Baracki who became The Iceman when a suicide bomber killed his wife, daughter and two sons. Revenge is a great motive for Eli, but first he has to keep the world from sliding into chaos. He resigns his position as Professor at M.I.T. and moves to a remote location in Australia with a supporting cast of experts and technologists.
Trevor Hadley, Eli’s former graduate student, who went on to invent a powerful and dangerous energy source. He blew up his own lab to keep the United Nations and Supreme Scientific Council from confiscating his invention, leaving a nothing but a hole in the ground and a lot of embarrassed people on The Council.
Finally, Sharon Murphy, former Army helicopter pilot made the mistake of attending a new world rally with her brother. She got caught leaving early and cursing the United Nations and their control. When her brother joined the U.N. workforce, the authorities took her away for relocation.
Why did you choose sci-fi to write?
Ted: I fell in love with science fiction back in the golden years, reading Asimov, Clarke, Dick, Vonnegut, Heinlein, and those authors. Before that, I had only read adventure stories, spy novels, and mysteries. I was on summer vacation and picked up a discount paperback for a nickel. The book was an E.E. Doc. Smith sci-fi from the Skylark series and I was hooked.
Can you tell us a little about Double Dragon who published your book?
Ted: Double Dragon publishes e-books and formats these for print by Lulu. I submitted to them because they specialize in science fiction and fantasy novels. They are only open for submission on month per year. I missed that first opening after finishing QLZ and then missed the opening the next year because I had no heard from another publisher yet. When I did submit, Double Dragon was quick to accept my manuscript. I dealt directly with the owner and their editor. They handled everything and publishing easy so I could concentrate on the next book.
What do you believe has been the most challenging aspect of getting your book finally published and out there?
Ted: The hardest thing was to find a publisher. You work hard, you revise and rewrite and revise some more. You send it out for critiques and comments from your beta readers. You format and check all the margins and fonts, then sent it out, and wait. And wait. And wait. When you finally get a rejection, you send it to another publisher and wait. And wait. Then send it to another publisher. You get the idea. Even though I had two other novels to work on, I wasn’t getting any younger.
Do you have any publishing advice you’d like to share?
Ted: have you list of agents and publishers ready before you type The End. I chose to go without an agent for this one but I would not go unagented had I gotten an offer from one of the top five publishers because ten of thousands of dollars would be at stake. I had an agent representing my co-author and I in another genre. It didn’t work out for us and we are now self-publishing. I like traditional publishers but it’s a tough sell because they charge more than you can if you publish yourself. What you get with a traditional publisher is editing, formatting, a cover, some marketing and important validation that your story is worth something more than 99 cents.
Thanks again for the interview, Ted. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Ted: You can find my website and blog at www.tedgrosch.com. My twitter handle is @tedgrosch and I save photos of remodeling ideas and Australian shepherds on pinterest.