Dennis Meredith: Solomon's Freedom


Dennis Meredith
Glyphus LLC, June 20, 2014, $16.95 (paperback); $3.95 (Kindle)
ISBN: 9781939118097

Meredith reports:

When I started to research my novel on the battle for legal rights for chimpanzees, my attitude at first was purely journalistic. I’d seen the mounting evidence that chimps possess sophisticated intelligence and social skills. But even with such new data, their legal status remained basically the same as that of any other animal.

However, the project became quite personal when, thanks to my longtime friend Earle Holland, I was invited by Ohio State primatologist Sally Boysen to embed in her research facility, to observe her chimps mastering mathematical concepts.

Dennis Meredith

Dennis Meredith

It was fascinating to watch them skillfully use a touch screen to solve math problems. And just as engaging was their intelligent behavior outside their “workplace.” I remember seeing a chimp emerge into an outdoor cage with a magazine. He proceeded to lie on his back, prop up his feet and flip through its pages, uttering contented grunts. Sally told me the chimps like to look at the pictures.

The chimps also had a sense of humor, as my wife Joni found out. One day when she was sprucing up the landscaping outside their cage in preparation for a donor visit, she felt the splash of a mouthful of water in the back of the neck, launched by a very skilled chimp. That chimp gave forth what can only be described as a chuckle.

Such experiences helped me depict the chimps accurately in my novel, Solomon's Freedom. They also gave me an understanding on a more visceral level of how complex and intelligent these animals are.

While I wanted to write a novel with engaging characters, surprising plot twists, and a dramatic climax, these experiences also made me want to write a book that accurately portrayed the complex emotional and moral issues we face in deciding the fate of our closest living primate relatives.

My wife Joni and I decided to publish Solomon's Freedom and my other novels through our own publishing company, Glyphus LLC. We've found that almost all the services provided by big commercial publishers (design, layout, marketing, etc.) are now available to independent publishers. Of course, we bear the expense and the risk, but we have more control, and earn higher royalties.

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Tell your fellow NASW members tell how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you started working on your book, or had done differently.


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Jul. 9, 2014

Advance Copy

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

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