Friday, June 18, 2021

Kathleen O'Neal Gear Interview - The Ice Lion

Photo Content from Kathleen O'Neal Gear

Kathleen O’Neal Gear is a New York Times-bestselling author and nationally award-winning archaeologist who has been honored by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the United States Congress. She is the author or co-author of 50 books and over 200 non-fiction articles. Her books have been translated into 29 languages. She lives in northern Wyoming with W. Michael Gear and a wily Shetland Sheep dog named Jake.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
That learning doesn’t end at school. It’s a lifelong project and if you are lucky, it never ends. I think the most important thing you learn in your entire life…is how to learn.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Both of my parents were writers. My father wrote western short stories, and my mother was a newspaper journalist. From around the age of ten, I knew I wanted to be a novelist, though I did not major in English or Creative Writing in college. Instead, I wanted to study prehistory and history, particularly Native American history, culture and religion, which would later form the foundation for almost every book I’ve ever written. It’s funny how things meld and come together in your subconscious without you realizing it, at least they did for me. That’s the joy of being human!

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
I have two all-time favorite books: White Fang by Jack London, and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Both teach lessons about facing the worst that life can throw at you. In the case of White Fang, readers see through the eyes of a wolf, and it teaches more lessons about how to be human than any other book I’ve ever read.

My favorite book outside my genre? I’m not sure there is a book outside my genre, however, I’d have to say THIS SCORCHED EARTH by W. Michael Gear (Yep, my husband). When I read Mike’s first draft of this Civil War novel, I turned over the last page, looked at him, and said, “It’s been years since I read a book that I considered a masterpiece. This is a masterpiece.”

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Stories define who we are as human beings. In fact, as an archaeologist, I can tell you that storytelling transcends modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), going far back into our ancestral, archaic human past. The oldest burial in the world is at Rising Star Cave (Homo naledi) in South Africa and dates to around 335,000 years ago, and the oldest religious structures were built in France by Neandertals and date to 176,000 years ago. Religion implies beliefs in a soul and an afterlife, both of which require shared stories.

Think about this, too. For most prehistoric peoples and many historic peoples, breath was synonymous with soul—your last breath was perceived as your soul escaping your body at death. What are stories? Breath. Even when you’re reading you are speaking the words of the story in your head, and often aloud. Breath is life. Stories are life.

Can you tell us when you started THE ICE LION, how that came about?
THE ICE LION, the first book of THE REWILDING REPORTS, came into focus one summer afternoon when I was reading several journal articles that proposed how we could cool the earth and solve the climate problem. Any proposal that deals with tampering with the earth’s oceans scares the holy you-know-what out of me, because if things go wrong in an environment as vast as the ocean, they’re tough to fix. Things can get out of hand really quick. Then I asked myself, “If they did get out of hand and trigger an Ice Age, how would I save life on earth?” Well… I’d bet on species that had survived previous Ice Ages for hundreds of thousands of years: Neandertals, Denisovans, Homo erectus, short-faced bears, giant bison, giant American lions, dire wolves, and many others. And if we could recreate those species, how would they survive today. What unique challenges would they face? What stories would they tell about their creators, the ancient Jemen? Would they dream about the warm world that had once existed?

One of the characters, Arakie, is a modern human (Homo sapiens sapiens). He actually began the story for me. If you’ve lived for one thousand years, watching over the species you helped to create, seeing some fail and others perch on the verge of extinction, you must have some special insights about life and death. The way he interacts with the archaic humans was especially fun to write. I mean, if you were the last modern human on earth, and your only real companion was a quantum computer, how would you view archaic species? Are they primitive beasts or are they just people struggling to survive? In future books in the series, some of my favorite scenes are with Quancee—the last quantum computer—and the little Neandertal boy named Jawbone.

That’s how THE REWILDING REPORTS were born.

Thank you, Jean! It’s always delightful speaking with you! 

This cli-fi novel from a notable archaeologist and anthropologist explores a frozen future where archaic species struggle to survive an apocalyptic Ice Age

One thousand years in the future, the zyme, a thick blanket of luminous green slime, covers the oceans. Glaciers three-miles-high rise over the continents. The old stories say that when the Jemen, godlike beings from the past, realized their efforts to halt global warming had gone terribly wrong, they made a desperate gamble to save life on earth and recreated species that had survived the worst of the earth's Ice Ages.

Sixteen-summers-old Lynx and his best friend Quiller are members of the Sealion People--archaic humans known as Denisovans. They live in a world growing colder, a world filled with monstrous predators that hunt them for food. When they flee to a new land, they meet a strange old man who impossibly seems to be the last of the Jemen. He tells Lynx the only way he can save his world is by sacrificing himself to the last true god, a quantum computer named Quancee.

You can purchase The Ice Lion at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. I just cried at a rerun of Without a Trace.

  2. I don't cry a lot but our older dog Rocky passed away a few months ago and sometimes in the evening I get a little misty missing him.

  3. "Last time you cried?" When watching a tearjerker.

  4. Two days ago I finished a GREAT book. The ending had me crying.

  5. Last time I cried was about a month ago. I rarely cry anymore.

  6. I am so excited to read this book!

  7. Yesterday afternoon watching Fatherhood!

  8. Last week, because of family issue