"Revenge of the Pond Scum' is a delicious title, don't you think? Well, maybe delicious isn't exactly the word you would used for anything to do with scum but I thought delectable was going a bit too far. Still, the title got me interested and the funny, flowing, clear writing kept me engaged. Today I have an interview with the fascinating author, Kenn Amdahl. I'm sure, after you read the interview, you will have a clear idea of his wonderful writing style and will want to have one of his books for your own. The good news is most are available in ebook form.
Long ago I read a science fiction short story about a crew sent on a mission far from earth. I don't remember the writer's name nor the title of the story but the plot ideas have long stuck with me. Everyone on the crew had a specific job and expertise from the biologist to the engineer - everyone except one person. The young man stewed and stewed about the fact that, genius that he was, he didn't have a 'job' or a reason to be on the ship. Then one day the crew ran into a problem none could solve even with all their knowledge. It was then the young man's role became clear as he took what he learned from the engineer, the physicist, the biologist, and others to come up with a solution. Reading Amdahl's book reminded me of this science fiction short story. He was the one who didn't have a job on the crew but, in the end, he might be the most critical person of all - Amdahl or someone like him. I am not surprised at some of the responses Kenn Amdahl got from those working on the diseases he was researching.
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Thank you, Kenn, for agreeing to this interview. I know being a researcher, writer and publisher can take most of your time.
Vital Signs, a section of Discovery Magazine, is one of my favorite parts. Your book had the feel of these folksy medical mystery stories. Did you develop that for this book or are all your books written in the same everyday language tone as "Revenge of the Pond Scum"?
I usually write in a conversational style. Generous people like yourself describe my writing as "folksy;" others might call it "smart alecky" or "wisecracky." Pond Scum really is a medical mystery, so I'm pleased it seemed that way to you.
Most of my books try to explain dull subjects in an easier and more fun way; it makes sense to keep the writing livelier than the textbooks I compete with. Once I finally understand something, it's not hard to explain it in simple terms. When we feel a little foggy about an idea, we hedge our language. If you're the head of the Federal Reserve trying to explain a multi-trillion dollar economy that no one understands, you toss out phrases like "over exuberant quantitative easing" and hope everyone else is as confused as you are so they don't ask a follow-up question. If you're a boy trying to explain the way you feel about a girl, you start talking about moonbeams and rose petals cascading down the rainbows of your imagination. When you talk about something you actually understand, you say it simply, like this: "Your spark plug's loose. Tighten it."