Author Interview: Doug Turnbull

How long have you been writing for?

15 years

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

For me, the most tedious part is editing and preparing the final manuscript for publication. Promotion comes in a close second behind that.

What genre do you generally write?

Hard Science Fiction. That is SF based in science as it is understood today.

Do you have a favourite author and why?

Robert A. Heinlein. He wrote mostly hard SF, while having a humorous and irreverent approach to his subjects.

What is your book called and how did you choose this title?

IV57384 One of the main characters is Ivy, a genetically modified human that was grown from stem cells in a secret weapons project. IV57384 is her official designation, IV referring to her model number while each digit designates a variation in her genetic code.


2010 “I’m not human, Case,” Ivy informs the main character and narrator, claiming to be a genetically modified human grown artificially in a laboratory. We can understand the skepticism of Case Smithson, a self-described non-famous science writer and radio talk show host, when confronted by this revelation from a beautiful young girl he’d met in a bar only an hour before. A girl whose personality seemed to change from moment to moment, from sultry Scandinavian seductiveness, to cool, analytical brilliance, to hurt little girl. And what about this story of hers — that she traveled all the way from Norway to Louisville, Kentucky, to see him when she’d never met or even spoken to him, and that a mysterious “they” were pursuing her? And what was her connection to Norwegian geneticist Lars Rasmussen, whom Case knew only slightly, having never met the man in person? Join Case and his lovely mistress, Brianne Devries, MD, on a chase that spans a continent and ends in a perilous confrontation, as they attempt to solve the Chinese puzzle that they know only as IV57384, or Ivy; and see the author’s vision of what the future might hold in a society of genetically modified humans.

Has your book been published and how did you go about this?

Yes. I publish through Smashwords and Amazon Kindle for e-book versions and Amazon for the paper version.

Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?

This project was completed concurrently with several other projects including publishing a book of my SF short stories and novellas, producing a weekly podcast during which I interviewed space scientists and SF authors, writing several articles for online popular science magazines, preparing and presenting a lecture to the Mars Society on possible food production by Mars colonists, and co-authoring two technical articles for science journals on the use of Mars soil and local materials for food production. Consequently it was nearly three years from first conception to publication. Without these other distractions, for me, one year is a about normal for writing a novel length book.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Just start writing. Don’t wait until you have the whole project planned, write the parts that most interest you and fit them into final version.

Do you use social media to promote your book? If yes, then which social networks do you like the most?

Yes. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler. Jo has set it up so that when I post something on FB, it automatically posts in the other two.

What other ways do you market your book/s?

Word of mouth principally. Promotion is my weakest suit and I’d advise a new author to seek ideas on the subject elsewhere. I’m not a good example.

Have you enrolled your book onto Amazon’s KDP Select and how have you found it?

No. I feel it is too restrictive.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would have stopped planning and started writing sooner than I did.

What books do you like to read in your spare time?

History, biography, science, science fiction, and popular fiction of the 20th century.

What do you feel is the most important stage of writing a book?

For me it is the outline. I outline the entire book, chapter by chapter, and then write the chapters, not necessary in order.

How did you go about designing the cover for your book?

I give a synopsis of the story to an artist and let him or her design it.

Are you writing or considering writing a follow-up to your book?

Yes. I may write a sequel that takes place entirely in the future after GMH people are commonplace.

Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?

I am a retired banker, so I write when I am not otherwise occupied promoting, social networking, and so forth.

Check out Doug’s previous book Zachary Dixon: Officer Apprentice