Virtual Book Tour Guest: Ted Grosch, author of 'Quantum Level Zero'

Ted Grosch is an American science fiction the author of the novel Quantum Level Zero and other published short stories. Ted has a Ph.D. and teaches electrical engineering. He has published over 25 works of fiction and non-fiction. He lives in Georgia where he works with wood and trains dogs.

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About the Book:

Winston Churchill stated that history is written by the victors. Germany terrorized Britain's civilian population with V1 and V2 rockets. The Nazi historians would have a legitimate rational for that had they won the war. Quantum Level Zero takes place in a dystopian society of the near future Earth,
where fanatics are about to win the war on terror for the good for the people and the good of society.

Their leader, Matteen Al-Rama has outgrown his fanatical roots. Once an ambassador and secretary General of the United Nations, he now leads a fundamentalist revolution that uses cloud computing, holographic CGI recruitment rallies, computer worms, rootkits and Trojans, advanced communications, and cybernetic enhancements to spread apocalyptic chaos across the globe. If that weren't enough, rumor of an alien race wanting to begin diplomatic relations with Earth threatens to solidify Al-Rama's global stranglehold.

Quantum Level Zero follows three people at the pivot point in the war on terror, one who has knowledge, one who has great need, and one who has the courage to make a difference. Elijah Baraki is a scientist and former official of Al-Rama's revolution. Eight years ago he lost his wife and three children in a suicide bombing meant to show the world that nobody leaves Al-Rama's organization. Since that bombing, Eli has concentrated on research and radial technology with the intention to wage war on the revolutionaries. In a world where reasonable people become dissidents, Eli is joined by two-hundred other scientists, engineers and soldiers, all of whom have their own reasons to leave their former lives and battle the growing chaos.

Trevor Hadley sabotaged his own laboratory to prevent the authorities from confiscating his zero-point energy research. Now wanted as a terrorist, Trevor has been working on Eli's secret project for the past few years as a lab assistant. Eli sends him to reconnoiter an Al-Rama outpost and is almost killed. He teams up with his brother, Eli's former boss, and Sharon Murphy, a former army helicopter pilot also on the run, in a race to report back to Eli and join the fight to free Earth.

Forces of reason have the edge in the war, but will that remain the case if First Contact goes to the revolutionaries? Quantum Level Zero opens as the world awaits the arrival of Al-Rama's latest ally, an advanced alien race offering anti-gravity, zero-point energy, and faster-than-light travel. Al-Rama won't be satisfied with anything less than world domination. Eli won't be satisfied with anything less than total destruction of Al-Rama's empire.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

It all started when my college roommate sent me a scene called Quantum Level Zero he had written in longhand without any explanation. We had never, ever talked about writing in college or in the 15 years since. In fact, we were both engineers and tended to discuss geeky stuff like Maxwell’s Equations and tensor metrics in Minkowski Space-Time.

His scene opened with: “Sax, Sax, Sax, Sax,” the crowd chanted, pounding their feet on the metal bleachers of Starview Stadium. The scene continued to total about 10 pages. I didn’t think it was a story because it didn’t have an end, so I asked for the next part and I filed it away.

A year later, I was moving overseas, found that scene while packing my household goods, and took it with me. Once I got settled in, I didn’t have much to do so I asked my friend if he wanted to use that scene and write a novel together. He agreed to write the odd chapters if I wrote the even chapters.  We kicked around some plots, themes, and tropes, and started writing.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It was easy to write every other chapter. We both had or own characters and our own plot line. This novel was a figure-8 plot structure where our characters’ story diverges in the beginning, cross paths in the middle, and then work together to overcome in the end.

 It was hard to keep to a schedule. I added my chapter, sent the file to him, and he proofread what I had written. Then he would add his chapter to the file and send it to me. We exchanged the file about like this, over the next two years passed before we made it to make it to the middle. It took longer and longer to get chapters written until we had a falling out when I didn’t think his last chapter would work. This didn’t go well for our friendship either. We don’t talk much anymore.

I took me about ten years to rework what he had written and finish the rest of the novel. I deleted a lot, rewrote it over and over, had my critique groups read and reread the manuscripts until it was all my voice and my story. My friend read it, gave me the rights, and went on to patent a way to make hydrogen from water and work on publishing with a physicist at CERN on the Higgs Boson. I think he’s happier doing that than being a starving writer.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Double Dragon publishes QLZ in e-book and print. I found them by surveying sci fi publishers and sending out query letters. I had a literary agent for my co-authored fiction in another genre, but by the time I finished QLZ we were not working with that agent. I solicited the top science fiction publishers that accepted unagented manuscripts. Three requested full manuscripts, but no sales. By that time, Double Dragon opened for submissions and they wanted it. 

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I was surprised at how much of the editing they handled themselves. I expected several rounds of line edits, I got only two and some very good suggestions from their editor.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am working on two more novels. One is a present day sci-fi story about a scientist who discovers he may have invented time travel in another timeline, but somebody or something caused history to change and steal that distinction from him. The second is a near future story at a time when a medical breakthrough extends lives of only one gender. This is a society becoming dystopian where the battle of the sexes takes center stage.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I play EVE Online. EVE is an MMORPG with on average 30,000 players online at any one time. We use Team Speak for corporate operations like training and running missions.  I fly frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and battleships through star systems and star gates. I have an alt that mines and generates cash, another who does research and manufacturing, and my main character that blows things up.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

The story is three people who have either lost everything they care about and have nobody to turn to.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

If you’re a writer, don’t forget to take time to read. Find books in your genre and read authors in other genres who fire on all cylinders.

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