Posted by authorcamilson
A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth
by Gerhard Gehrke
GENRE: Science Fiction
What would you do if you found a dead alien on a lonely highway?
Was it an accident, sabotage, or murder? And why is everyone blaming Jeff?
The extraterrestrials aren’t waiting for answers. They want revenge. And Jeff isn’t ready for company.
His only hope is an outcast mechanic from another world and a woman who might do anything to get off planet, including selling out her own kind. Jeff has to get to the bottom of why there are so many alien bodies piling up and who is really responsible.
A science ﬁction adventure novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth tells the story of a reclusive ex-computer programmer who is the unwitting central ﬁgure of a plot to keep humanity from ever making ﬁrst contact.
First contact with the humans wasn’t going as planned, as was obvious by the rank smells that choked the air of the alien visitorsʹ craft. But no one called them aliens where they came from.
Seven little Greys, short bipeds with large heads and big eyes and delicate limbs, sat in the flight seats of their ship’s crew compartments and listened as the Mission Commander lectured them from the Command Module. The harangue lingered in the air, not as words or even sounds but as a smell, a ripe one replete with pheromones and scent packets that the Greys used to speak with one another. A new string of curses from the Commander’s glands smelled of licorice. The Mission Commander composed itself. It wiped sticky sweat from its hairless frontal lobe.
The lights and displays in front of the seven crewmembers blinked and flashed. No one would so much as touch a button until the Commander was finished addressing the crew.
“I’ll hear no more of it,” the Commander said. “We’re on the human world. We go forward. Probability calculations for success show at 100%. The computer will be trusted.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Gerhard Gehrke studied ﬁlm at San Francisco State University. He wrote and produced several shows for community television. His Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories have appeared in several publications, including an Editor’s Choice-winning short story at AnotheRealm.com. A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth is his ﬁrst novel.
You can connect with him at Gerhardgehrke.com.
Also available on iBooks
Gerhard Gehrke will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Hunger and other base needs keep me from sleeping in. Writing comes into the picture as early morning is the only consistent time I have to write, so I want to get up early and I have been in the habit of doing so for quite some time.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I would love to hang out with Charles Shultz, the creator of the Peanuts characters. Wouldn’t it be great to hear how he managed to portray a hopeful, positive view of the world through his characters while they focused on the mundane frustrations of childhood? His comic strips could be at once simple, funny, and profound and Mr. Schultz never wavered in a consistent output that lasted for decades.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth began in my work truck’s notebook with the line “No one likes them very much.” That line was to be the conclusion reached by aliens intent on first contact who landed the USA and decided to try other parts of the planet after some unfortunate experiences. This developed into the aliens wanting nothing to do with the entire planet and them hanging a virtual “Do Not Disturb Occupants” sign on our doorknob. As I fleshed this out over a few months I decided a smaller story that focused on one man’s experience as a scapegoat for an alien conspiracy that was trying to make first contact fail just felt better. By then I had a rough idea on where I wanted the project to go, and the aliens would have to be part of it.
Tell us your writing process
When I can’t shake an idea, it goes into a notebook. When the notes in the notebook has enough friends I see what happens when I put them on a page. If they play well together and get my figurative juices flowing, I keep on it. I work with loose outlines, more of a connect-the-dots approach informing me where I want a story to go. My notebooks have lists of out-of-order scenes, words, and phrases that I later add. Plenty gets left behind and never used. Most of my writing gets done early in the morning because my brain turns to mush by 9am when the coffee wears off and I turn into a pumpkin once the sun sets.
Do you have any promo tips you can share with other writers?
I’m very new at promotion too as this is my first novel to see the light of day. From running a business I know that you have to advertise and you never know what will take. Social media is an essential component. The message can’t be “Buy my book” or you’ll fall in with thousands of others sending out the same message and be ignored. Engage with people. Try to be interesting or funny. Give them a reason to listen to you, whether its a blog, podcast, or cheeky tweets.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
There’s never been a singular moment. In grade school I made Pac-Man comic books. I wrote regularly in a notebook and started putting down stories soon after. Getting involved in local community television introduced me to actually finding an audience for things put down on paper, even though most of what we worked on was non-narrative in structure. Writing fiction evolved from that.
Tell us about your main character:
Jeff Abel is a paranoid recluse whose mental condition has cost him his marriage and his job as a computer programmer. Unbeknownst to Jeff, he actually is being watched, and the aliens are coming for him. But it’s his skills with technology that may prove to be his and the aliens’ salvation, as they have a traitor in their midst and only Jeff is in a position to stop him, er, it.
What are you working on next?
I have a follow-up to A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth that is now going through editing. Also I have a post-decline of civilization novel I’m writing where a young girl escapes from a secret sanctuary only to discover that the world outside is a much more complicated place than she had ever imagined.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I have memory tricks for people’s names that irritates my brother-in-law whenever it actually works. I’m good at mixing drinks even though I don’t drink the things I make. I never use an alarm clock. And I can make the grumpiest baby smile for me.
Who are your favorite authors?
Margaret Atwood for her world building and defying my expectations for where her stories are going. Octavia Butler for creating aliens that are, well, alien. Andy Weir for making the memorable character Mark Watney. And Allan Cole and Chris Bunch for writing the most re-readable military sci-fi adventures out there.
What do you like to do with your free time?
Hiking, cooking, reading, and watching movies, all of which I do with my lovely wife Abby.
Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
Besides the two projects listed above, a far-ranging project that I try not to think about too much as it would become distracting is a story that follows a group of ordinary children of some super villains.
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