Production begins on the audiobook edition of Sea of a Thousand Words. And, while preparing notes and background information for my narrator, I have revisited the casting choices of my main characters. Below are just a few–can you identify the cast members? Which ones do you agree with, or which ones differ from how you envision them? If so, in what way? (Inquiring authors want to know).
One great way to begin the new year is to wake up to news that Sea of a Thousand Words has made it on the list for “Top Picks of 2017” for the Chuckanut Radio Hour. I’m so very pleased. Check it out this week by tuning into 102.3 FM
This article posted from The Atlantic is in line with what I’ve been hearing from book sellers and librarians. “Cli-fi” is becoming one of the fastest growing genres in fiction literature. And what’s more, a large percentage of its base are those typically classified as YA readers.
Recently, a buyer from one of the libraries I’ve dealt with seemed initially lukewarm about purchasing my novel until I mentioned it’s cli-fi genre. “Oh wow, we can’t stock enough titles in that section these days!” He pulled the title up on Ingram’s site and purchased two copies while I stood at the desk, then asked if he could personally buy a signed book directly from me.
The increasing popularity of the climate fiction trope has certainly got to give us some hope as to our national attitude. Granted, avid readers tend to fall on the progressive end of the spectrum, but with the presence of more books pertaining to the condition of our planet, does that not bode well for shaping attitudes of future generations? The mere fact that this niche of speculative fiction has become a marketable one for big publishing, I’d like to thing that there is a bigger swath of climate-aware people “out there” than we may have previously estimated, (especially after the past election).
As I work on the sequel to Sea of a Thousand Words, I’m mindful of the setting–and the impact my books, like others in the genre, will have on its readership. I shy away from the word “dystopian” when describing my novel to new readers. Aside from the tired, over-use of that description, I simply don’t want my story to be dismissed so easily; futuristic views of the world need not be dismal (all the time), nor do they need to always follow the archetype of books such as The Hunger Games. I like the way this fresh genre of “cli-fi” enables writers to depict a future that is more of a warning with sense of promise than a predilection of doom and squalor. (At least, I’ll choose to keep writing like it does).
I’m curious, have you read a book recently that you’d categorize as climate fiction? And if so, how did you feel after finishing it–hopeful?… despondent? …fired up?
If so, please send me a message at email@example.com or comment below, I’d like to hear about it.
As I continue the author events for Sea of a Thousand Words, I’m beginning to notice the evolution of my audiences. This past summer saw the typical protocol; introducing the story’s premise, discussing the writing process and answering questions about the motivation of this or that plot device. However, these days as the novel’s readership widens, a larger percentage of audiences are comprised of ardent fans. It is a treat to be met with readers who want nothing more than to tell me how they feel connected with a certain character or how a specific storyline touched them significantly. I find myself talking much less and allowing the readers to share their thoughts and feelings.
My daughter predicted this months ago; before the manuscript was even published she told me to prepare for sharing my characters with the world. “You’re going to have to let them go soon and they’ll become special to complete strangers. Just imagine what it will be like to read fan-fictions based on your book.”
Since then, I’ve learned the meanings of slang words like, “canon”, “ship”, “OTP,” and “AU”. I’ve heard disagreements between fans about the specific appearance of one of my main characters and I’ve leaned back in my chair to listen as one reader explained to another their personal take on the symbolism of my raven “Monk” and orca “Saka”.
As I make progress toward the audiobook creation, I’m remembering these instances and taking them to heart. The familiarity that readers develop with favorite stories is intimate and not to be trifled with. (After all, this die-hard Tolkien fan was royally ticked off when Legolas showed up as a blonde in the movie). When I heard Gray Eubank narrate a passage from my book last month, I experienced the story from a reader’s perspective. It was a valuable opportunity.
I’m currently working on the structure for SoaTW’s sequel these days and this knowledge is a powerful motivator, (or heavy burden, depending on the day). I have my favorite characters… I won’t commit to them publicly as I love them all, with the exception perhaps of one or two. I’ll wrestle with their individual fates and plot development as I bear in mind the responsibility I owe not only to my characters but to the readers who’ve come to love them and their story.
This is what makes being a writer such a privilege.
Do you have a personal connection with a particular character in this novel? Is there a memorable moment for you in the storyline? Is there something you’d really like to see (or definitely don’t want to happen) in the next installment? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Just comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for sharing
I am looking forward to the upcoming author event in Corvallis Oregon on the 2nd of November. Joining me will be a good friend and old (as in former, not aged), Oregon State Theater colleague, Gray Eubank. We’ll be sharing a podium for the evening as I discuss the process of writing the novel and Gray reads a passage from one of the pivotal scenes. I’m excited to hear it read aloud–and by such a talented actor to boot. The novelty of hearing my characters voices from a seasoned stage actor such as Gray will be a real treat.
We’re recording the audiobook for SoaTW this winter, with Gray’s narration. I truly cannot wait to get started on this process.
For local fans of the book or those wishing to learn more about the process of writing a speculative fiction story in a fast-changing world, please join us at GRASS ROOTS BOOKS & MUSIC 227 2nd St. Corvallis Or. 97333. The event begins at 7PM and should wind down by 8:30. (Of course, since we are both old theater people, you can bet on an after-party occurring @ a nearby establishment).
[If you would like to schedule an author event for a bookstore or book club in your town, please contact me at email@example.com].
Last week was the first author event for my latest book, a speculative fiction novel, Sea of a Thousand Words. I had a great time talking about the process of writing a novel about the future in this era of such fast-paced changes in our world.
With important topics ranging from geo-political movements, artificial intelligence, climate change and gene drive technology–not to mention global cyber and drone warfare, I often found myself wondering if I’d get the book published before all this became history!
Quite fortuitously, I relied on the experts while writing Sea of a Thousand Words, and it’s largely due to these passionate, knowledgeable people who took time to educate this curious writer, that the book feels so genuine and realistic. I owe those folks a great deal. The amusing consistency of all my humble experts was their surprised reaction to being included in the acknowledgement section–they didn’t think their contributions were that big of a deal. If they only knew!
I spent a fair amount of my talk describing the process I went through to organize chapters and sequencing with an ensemble cast of characters in a timeline that at times, flashes back an entire decade. Bringing the storyboard and character scene-graphs really helped to illustrate how I dealt with these challenges. One of the participants noted afterward that my theater background was evident in the complex storyboarding. She may be right about that assessment.
The question and answer portion of the event was rewarding, as there were some really thoughtful inquiries. Several questions made me consider my motivation and specific choices as to settings and decisions about a few characters. As I explained why I approached certain chapters the way I did, it clarified the themes even more–and made my approach to the subject matter much easier to describe. I’ll remember these points for my upcoming talks.
Author events are a unique public speaking venue for me–a former national speaker on childbirth related subjects. I never had a problem speaking in front of a large audience, but these days, I’ve found that it’s not always easy to speak about my writing. I suppose it’s the personal nature of my art that makes me a little more self conscious about presenting. However, the supportive people who attend these events are making my jitters disappear each time I stand at a podium.
Thanks for attending these readings and for buying my book.
Support booksellers wherever you live!
*Stay tuned for upcoming events (Most of which will happen in the fall when the audiobook is released). To request an author appearance at your book club or local library, please reply below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
” Part imaginative dystopian future, part environmental warning, Wallace’s new book is fitting for a climate in which The Handmaid’s Tale and 1984 have regained public prominence. Sea of a Thousand Words pulls off the best trick in imaginative fiction — so creative you couldn’t think of it yourself, yet so plausible that it feels a moment away.”
–Third Place Books, Seattle WA.
After the last month, post-release of Sea of a Thousand Words, I’m settling into a normal pace once again. The whirlwind of setting up the author events and fulfilling special orders has passed and I’m now filling my days by contacting independent book sellers and establishing a (less-political) presence on social media.
The interesting thing that I’ve learned however is this: I expected that the most exciting part of finishing my book would’ve been the much-anticipated publishing-day, but that is not so. The most rewarding part of this adventure has been hearing from my readers–a diverse group of fans to be sure. Many of whom were drawn to the book because of its environmental and geo-political issues, others because of the action and adventure and still others for the science and technology aspects. I’ve also heard from much younger readers who were focused on the relationships between several of the characters. (I didn’t anticipate having a YA audience)! This very morning, I hopped on Twitter to discover that people were retweeting a recommendation for my novel–that’s an exhilarating feeling for an author, to be certain.
Perhaps it is because much of what occurs within the plot is relative to the current–and at times–controversial events that are happening (or threatening to happen), in our own world, but quite a few readers have been sending me articles about these issues. For instance, here’s a link that I recently received in an email from a fan regarding the CRISPR enzyme. It’s on a Radio Lab podcast and is quite fascinating. It got me thinking: Even though my novel is set 15-years in the future, this technology is far closer than I envisioned. Certainly, the ethical questions are no longer hypothetical–scientists are already facing these dilemmas. Give it a listen, it’s well worth it.
The genre for Sea of a Thousand Words has been called “speculative fiction.” I feel that is an adequate description for a novel that’s not too dystopian sci-fi/ fantasy, but not rooted completely in the present. However, as I start the research for a sequel, (which will reach even farther into the future), I doubt that the follow-up novel could even be labeled “science-fiction” any longer… more like, “science-probability or science-inevitability.”
It is great to hear from everyone who has sent their feedback. Your cards, letters and emails have been such a treat, and to hear that my characters are loved by others is more than gratifying. It quite simply inspires me to get back to work and find more adventures in which to immerse them. (Remember, posting your comments on Sea of a Thousand Words Amazon’s page as well as sites like Goodreads helps to spread the word). I’ll continue to post more reader remarks, links and sources that I get from fans of the book. Please feel free to contact me with your insights or opinions on the subjects.
And as always, thank you for supporting this indie author!
The book is finished at last! I am eagerly anticipating the official email that it’s available through Amazon, Ingram and Smashwords in print and e-publication. While I wait, I am working on a print of Monk the raven.
If you would like to own a signed copy of my book and receive a free 6×9″ original hand-cut block print of Monk, please click this paypal link and pre-order yours today.
Print copy–$16.00 plus 4.00 shipping USD
And remember, $1 from every hard copy and e-reader purchase goes to water.org efforts to provide clean drinking water across the world. So, with every copy ordered, you are helping to find a solution.
This novel is a special project for me and I hope that you’ll not only enjoy the cast of characters, but will find inspiration from the story. I look forward to your feedback–(please write a review)! I depend on you all to spread the word about the book to others. Avid readers and fans are the best marketing platform any author could ask for.
Thanks in advance for your purchase–and happy reading!
*(For purchases after the pre-order deadline, I’ll soon be posting links for where to find the book. Author event schedule is forthcoming).