This is supposed to be a self introduction of Ronald Klueh, the writer. On occasion over the years, I have wondered: how did I get to here? Mainly though, I haven’t spent much time trying to figure that out. The past and the future are not as important as just keeping on the move day to day—stay in the present. Despite that orientation, this is a brief look back at how I got here—author of Perilous Panacea.
I was born and raised in the small town of Ferdinand in Southern Indiana. Since I was the oldest of six children, there was no money for college, so I spent two years in the army after high school to figure out what I wanted to do and to get the GI Bill. I was accepted by the Purdue University Engineering School and the Indiana University Journalism School. I wanted to write, but I chose Purdue—more money and more jobs in engineering, and I figured if I flunked out I could always go to journalism.
After receiving a Metallurgical Engineering Degree from Purdue, I earned a PhD in Metallurgy and Material Science from Carnegie Mellon University. From there I became a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN. That position provided ample opportunity to write—over two-hundred-fifty papers published in the scientific and technical literature. I still wanted to write for a general audience, and I did some free-lance science writing for magazines for the layman interested in science—New Science Magazine, Popular Science, and others. I also had an op-ed piece in the Washington Post that was then picked up by newspapers around the country—Houston Chronicle, Hartford Times Press, and others.
Fiction was what I really wanted to do, so I wrote some short stories and had two accepted, one of which was published, while the other languished in the magazine’s files until the magazine went out of business. Given the limited number of outlets for short stories, I turned to writing novels and “finished” three, including Perilous Panacea. I was able to acquire agent representation for all of them, but there were no sales. About five years ago, I essentially quit writing.
Two years ago, I exchanged my research career for two new careers: self-employed metallurgical consultant and writer. For my first writing task, I returned to Perilous Panacea. The manuscript originated before the ubiquity of cell phones, text messaging, and high-speed internet, and the terms cyber terrorism and cyber attack did not exist. Back then, words like trap door, Trojan horse, and virus were not part of computer jargon. When I returned to the novel, I believe—I hope—I knew more about crafting a story, and I sought to sharpen the story and the characters and bring them into the twenty-first century.