Please welcome my guest today, Peter Clenott, author of Devolution.
I began writing after I took my last college exam. This was back in May 1973, which just goes to show you. At that time no one had any personal computers, so I sat in the student lounge at UMass/Amherst (I actually graduated from Bowdoin but spent my senior year at Smith while taking anthropology courses at UMass) and opened up a notebook and began to write. My tools were sharpened pencils and a big eraser. Once my first draft was completed, along the banks of the Charles River in Boston, I went to a manual typewriter to produce the manuscript. I remember to this day someone yelling at me one early Sunday morning to stop typing. The novel was called THE THIRD WORLD. It was a sci-fi that I ended up not sending to anyone. I still have the original in a bureau drawer at my parents’ house in Portland, Maine. Over the years I wrote dozens of novels and screenplays. Each time I sat down to write, I believed deeply in my latest project. This is the one, I believed. This is the one that’s finally going to make it. Well, 1973 was a long time ago, so you understand what I mean when I said earlier that it just goes to show you. In 2008 HUNTING THE KING was published, my debut novel. I made back what I spent in marketing the book. I got a NY agent for another book titled ALBERTVILLE and thought that I had finally hit the big time. An editor at Harper Collins loved the novel. The fact that I’m writing this article should tell you that once again high hopes ended up getting flattened. To this day I don’t know why she didn’t take the book. In any case, the point of all of this is that I have two books coming out in 2013, THE HUNTED and DEVOLUTION. It remains to be seen how well these books will do and what path my writing career will take. The real point is, you can’t give up. You take what rejections you get and move on. Here’s hoping.
Chiku Flynn wasn’t raised to be a human. Born in Maiko National Park in the Congolese rain forest, Chiku spent the first eleven years of her life as part of an experiment conducted by her parents.
Primatologists Seth Flynn and Samantha Burchill loved their daughter but had no difficulty releasing her into the wild to be studied alongside the chimpanzees of Pan-Dora Island. Impulsive and spontaneous, Chiku proved an apt student, ultimately surpassing her parents in her ability to mingle and communicate with the forest chimpanzees. Pan, the primary male. Scallion, Chiku’s birth mate. Scopes, the provocateur. She plays with them, fashions tools with them, sleeps in their nests, hunts and forages. For Chiku the aboriginal, the primitive, is normal. Then just after her eleventh birthday, everything changes. Chiku witnesses the horrifying death of her mother, pulled out of their boat by a Mamba River crocodile, and her father, Seth Flynn at last sends her ‘home’ to the United States and to a normal teenager’s life.
The problem is, Chiku can’t adapt. Five years and a dozen schools can’t bring her in line. Therapists and psychiatrists can’t figure her out. The pills, when she decides to take them, have no effect. She prefers rolling her own joints and risking life and limb on crazy urban stunts on her roller blades. She is the proverbial wild child, obstinate, defiant, and hopeless. There is a dark side to her past that no one can penetrate. Life is without direction or goal. It is simply experienced and often with catastrophic results. Then Seth Flynn disappears, the chimpanzees he has been studying begin acting crazily, and Chiku’s life is thrown onto a second life-altering course, only this time she is going back to Africa, back to the jungle, where she can put to profound use the one great skill she has: she can communicate with her father’s abandoned chimpanzees using sign language.
The rain forest is in turmoil when Chiku arrives with her older half-sister Cary, a journalist who does not like or trust her defiant sibling. Civil War has led to a massing of refugees on the outskirts of the national park. Poachers are hunting and killing chimpanzees for food or sale. Mining interests and timber companies want to displace the chimpanzees for their own profit. Chiku’s father may well have been a victim of their desires. With the human world threatening to destroy the rain forest and turn Seth Flynn’s chimpanzees into something they have never been, Chiku must step in and reclaim her life and that of the beings she grew up loving.
Pan-Dora Island is sixteen-year old Chiku Flynn’s line in the sand. She is naïve and fearless, guts and fists rather than charm and make-up, a tomboy growing fast into womanhood. The lives of the chimpanzees and the safety of the refugees depend upon her. The affections of three young men hang upon her adolescent desires. She is the focus of bispecies attention and the target of assassins intent on finishing their work. Bruised and jaded by life before she has tasted her first kiss, Chiku Flynn is not a girl to mess with. Yet, if anyone knows anything about love and true devotion, it is Chiku Flynn.
About the author
Peter Clenott is a graduate of Bowdoin College and hails from Portland, Maine. He is the author of the archaeological adventure Hunting the King and currently has three children and lives in Haverhill.
Visit his website at: www.peterclenott.net
This book tour was organized by Pump Up Your Book.
Watch for my review...coming soon!