Cetus Finalis Author Interview

Welcome, dear reader.

Ask away, folks!It is time this week to start answering some questions. Over the drafting of Cetus Finalis: A Gray Whale Odyssey, readers have asked many questions about the book. Sometimes in conversations and online the topics of questioning overlap. In observance of the September 1st release of Cetus Finalis, compiled here are the most common questions actually asked by fans, friends, and family, presented in interview format. (Some of you may recognize your questions. Kudos!)

Cetus Finalis…Why the funny name?
It’s Latin. It means “the last whale.” Though the book contains humor, I don’t know that I’d call the title “funny.”

Oh. Is the book a downer?
It ends on an uplifting note, but it does address extinction – so it does have its sad bits, sure.

What kind of book is Cetus Finalis?
It’s an animal fiction; a quest for a new home made by Atlantic gray whales.

Atlantic gray whales? Don’t gray whales live in the Pacific?
Breach!Most people are familiar with gray whales in the Pacific
Ocean. Heavily hunted in the 19th century, they became a protected species in the 20th and have since bounced back to an estimated population of 30,000 or so. Fewer people know that the Pacific gray once had an Atlantic counterpart, a distinct population of whales which kept to the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic gray whales are the only population of whales to ever become extinct. According to whaler’s documentation and archaeological records of some of their remains, we think they were wiped out in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

What is Cetus Finalis about?
Cetus Finalis is the fictional account of the last seven Atlantic gray whales. All female, they arrive at the equatorial feeding grounds one season to a total absence of gray bulls to mate with. This sets them on a journey of discovery across the Atlantic ecosystem to find out what has become of their kind.

When is the story set?
Fire It Up, Piper!Right around the time of the outbreak of the American Revolution; specifically, from the winter of 1774 to the summer of 1775. I’m not certain that season is precisely when Atlantic gray whales died out, but no one is. Both the archaeological record and poetic license permit it.

But if the characters are whales, how does the reader find out the setting?
There is only one clue…

Walfang_zwischen_1856_und_1907Care to divulge?
Not in too much detail, but the whales do have one encounter with humans. Some details about the humans in the encounter are linked to a specific historical event of the time.


Which historical event?

Out of respect for curiosity, that would be divulging too much. But here’s a hint regarding the historical moment in question – the colonial American whaling fleet was the largest, most lucrative on the sea. Perhaps not coincidentally, the American Revolution followed closely thereafter.

Intrigued yet? Stay tuned for more, including extended interview questions, cover art, more whale trivia, fabulous new art, a giveaway, and more!

Looking for more gray whale facts? Try the Gray Whale FAQs!

Reminder: Cetus Finalis goes on sale September 1st!
Book signing is on October 2nd (Sunday, 3-6PM), at Finnegan’s Wake (937 Cole St, 94117)

Thank you for reading. Reading rules!

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About Suhail Rafidi

Suhail Rafidi is a novelist and educator whose works explore the destiny of human values in a technological landscape. You can find him on Twitter, too, @shelldive.
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