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My Disdain For Reality TV

Paul Carey Author Interview

Paul Carey Author Interview

Mystery, suspense, reality television and revenge all come crashing together in this entertaining story. Where did the idea for Thawing A.C. Nielsen originate and develop into a novel?

The idea for the book originated with, frankly, my disdain for reality TV and the self-importance of the people on those shows, as well as the show producers making fortunes. When I began the book I thought, who better to take down reality TV than an icon from the past–namely, the real A.C. Nielsen. Of course, once you read the book, you will realize that my original goals shifted quite a bit (can’t say more–spoiler). Savvy readers will notice clues as to the real-world reality TV celebrities that the characters Khail Santana and Dimi Konstantos are based on!

The protagonist joins up with ExitStrategy, a facility devoted to cryogenics and the revival of the dead. Did you do a lot of research into cryonics for this book?

Ah, but they’re not dead- they’re just really cold, haha! I did a lot of research into the strange world of cryonics. There are a handful of cryonics companies and I combed their websites and read a few books. Probably the best resource was a massive website with a lot of scientific detail by a cryonics expert who is a bit of a screwball. Once I read more, I realized I could have a lot of fun with this scenario. I also made sure that just about everything in the book is based on reality. Some of the strangest things in there, the things people may think I made up, are totally fact-based. Also, I had a lot of help from my brother, who teaches medicine at University of Southern California, on the medical-based chapters where test animals and people are revived. I couldn’t have made those seem realistic without his help

When writing Thawing A.C. Nielsen, did you want the novel to be satire first, or science fiction first?

Great question! It is satire first, for sure. The sci-fi cryonics was just a means to a satirical end. Genre-wise it is a mix of sci-fi, satire, medical mystery, and plenty of humor. Overall, I think the mixing of genres makes the book unique. As far as the scifi category goes, I am proud that the book is not one of a million books categorized as dystopian. There also are no spaceships or aliens, but I do work David Brin’s bestseller Startide Rising into the book in a significant way.

I find that good authors have an ear for speech and dialogue. What’s the best way you find to capture natural prose?

I have to believe the characters are real people and I am just eavesdropping on their conversations. I sort of see them in my head and learn their personality from them. I also have to get inside their heads and spy on their secrets, their weaknesses, and then tumble them out to the reader at appropriate times.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be published?

I’m  75 percent done with a middle-grade wacky scifi yarn called “The Grandma Apocalypse”, an alien invasion story set in a sleepy central Illinois town during the 1960s. There are humorous threads relating to “The Princess Bride” which tie things together in an odd way. It’s all about DNA-stealing aliens, snickerdoodle cookies, cats &goats, sweet tea, mind control, multiple dimensions and so on. After that I am writing a sequel to “Thawing A.C. Nielsen”, which will be quite a bit darker. The working title is  “The Mozart Murders”.  Mozart is in the book in sort of a Voldemort way, and he’s a pretty bad dude–not the wacky Mozart of  the film Amadeus. I don’t have a publication date yet for these two new creations.Thanks for the great questions!

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Thawing A.C. Nielsen by [Carey, Paul]Brilliant young microbiologist and self-professed lab rat Kate Pearson has just landed her dream job, although she worries it might turn into a frozen nightmare. She’s been hired to discover a way to successfully revive people who have been in cryonic deep-freeze stasis for years at the Chicago firm ExitStrategy, a company founded by scientist Mike “Cold Smokey” Burgess, holder of dozens of major patents. Kate is succeeding Dr. Enzo Saltieri, Mike’s partner for years, who has died suddenly under strange circumstances. As Kate sifts through mountains of Saltieri’s scribbled-upon legal pads she finds paths that lead nowhere. Was Saltieri on the verge of great discoveries or just sinking into the illogical world of dementia? Along the way, Kate has to deal with Miles Coleman, a sarcastic idiot savant assistant at the lab who’s hiding his true identity; Gloria Dunham, a famous former Hollywood actress, now ninety years old and bent on taking over control of the company; plus reality show egomaniacs Dimi Konstantos and Khail Santana, megastars who’ve been polluting television’s airwaves for years. After Kate has some success reviving lab animals frozen in the 1980s such as Mr. T, the guinea pig, and John Cougar, the housecat, her attention turns to the first human subject, famous TV ratings guru A.C. Nielsen, who has been frozen at ExitStrategy for twenty-five years. Between Mike Burgess’s lofty expectations, hidden research files, secret medical procedures, switched identities, drugged drinks, randy Irish folk musicians, beefy bodyguards, plus the likes of Miles, Gloria, Dimi and Khail—Kate begins to realize that reviving A.C. Nielsen and stumbling upon a major medical discovery may actually be a stroll in the park.

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Thawing A.C. Nielsen

Thawing A.C. Nielsen4 StarsMystery, suspense, reality television and revenge all come crashing together in this entertaining story written by Paul Carey. Thawing A.C. Nielsen starts off with dated entries, much like a diary, as we gain very little backstory on what is to be a wild ride. It opens to a nameless man being rescued from the depths of a frozen body of water. This revival is short lived, but is important to the rest of the story. Flash forward to Kate, a young and intelligent woman who wants nothing more than to stare into a microscope for the rest of her life. At the urging of her friend she goes for a job interview at the one place that will make her desires reality. Our fierce protagonist gets a little more than she bargained for when she joins up with ExitStrategy, a facility that is devoted to cryogenics and the revival of those who should be dead.

One of the best things about Thawing A.C. Nielsen is how the characters talk. There is a fair bit of dialogue but each person sounds real. They communicate like they would if they were to stand in your living room. This makes reading this tale a lot easier on the mind. Many mystery novels or those who pride themselves on suspense get caught up in setting a ‘mood’ that makes their tales very unrealistic. The fact that the reader can identify with the characters not only through their speech, but through their actions, makes the entire tale feel like something you could read about in the news tomorrow.

This can be a double-edged sword, however. Because the characters speak so ‘modernly’ it’s quite grating to read some of the speech and hear it in your mind as you read. There are some slang words that should never be printed and it does a very good job at showing how reality television stars need to work on their linguistics.

Having a strong female lead who works in an area where women are underrepresented gives this tale a special place in the world. Not only does Kate work in a science-driven industry, she is respected by her male colleagues and never once is she demeaned or demanded of due to her sex. These types of tales are few and far between.

It’s clear that Carey did his research before writing his book. There is a scene where knowledge of medicine and medical terminology is paramount to understanding what is happening. Carey doesn’t skimp on the language and has obviously done more than just do an internet search or watch television. It’s not so in-depth that the average reader with no background would be lost but just realistic enough to bring the characters on the page to life, quite literally.

If you’re looking for a fun adventure with wily manipulative old women and socially challenged geniuses, you will find all that and more in the pages of our tale. Hold on to your hearts and keep your eyes peeled as you try to figure out the mystery of Thawing A.C. Nielsen.

Pages: 368 | ASIN: B01LOHEP7G

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