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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org].
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).
Several months ago, I entered Sea of a Thousand Words into an international book-to-script competition. Earlier this week, I received judges’ feedback. I’m quite pleased that out of thousands of entries, my novel made it into the top 100 candidates for adapting to screen.
Read what the judges said about Sea of a Thousand Words:
Sea of a Thousand Words
The final galley arrived a few days ago, minor tweaks have been made and the novel looks great.
As I wait for the e-reader conversion to wrap up, I’ve been thinking about all the necessities of publishing… what to price the book, how best to market it and when to schedule launches, etc., etc…
…And that’s when it occurred to me: Sea of a Thousand Words is a story that speaks to our times, and although it is set 15 years into our future, the crises are very much now.
Global Warming, climate refugees, diminishing water and food… countries closing their borders, depleted oceans and a century-in-the-making earthquake that reshapes an entire coastline. Throw a little genetic-enzyme weapon into the mix and you’ve got the makings of real millennial mayhem.
Because the topics in this story are so important to me, I wanted to do more than just get the book into as many hands as possible–and yeah, that of course would be nice–but I also really hope to make a difference.
So, to that end, I’m now a proud supporter of water.org and will donate $1.00 from every copy of Sea of a Thousand Words sold to their foundation.
Here’s a little information about Water.org:
663 million people – 1 in 10 – lack access to safe water; 2.4 billion people – 1 in 3 – lack access to a toilet. Water.org is dedicated to changing this. Through sustainable solutions and financing models such as WaterCredit, we can provide safe water and the dignity of a toilet for all.
Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, Water.org pioneers innovative, community-driven and market-based solutions to provide access to safe water and sanitation — giving women hope, children health and communities a future. To date, Water.org has positively transformed millions of lives around the world, ensuring a better life for generations ahead.
I am preparing the pre-order announcement and this week and will post another update on how you can purchase your copy of the book. I am truly grateful to the folks who’ve been so persistent about wanting a signed copy and to those who’ve made the creation of this novel possible. I’m including the acknowledgements section below–take a look at the talented group of people I’ve had the pleasure to work with!
My profound thanks to the following individuals and organizations for their invaluable help in shaping the world of my novel:
George Dyson, author and historian, for sharing his unique sail design for Inuit baidarkas. The stories, photographs and nautical charts of his adventures in Alaska and the Inside Passage provided great insight into my heroes’ journey.
Julie Ross-Buckmaster, Sehome high-school biology teacher, who instilled a passion for the physical sciences in my youngest daughter and helped me to better understand the CRISPR-CAS-9 enzyme—setting me on the path toward Kim Chen’s frightening discovery.
Dr. Chris Goldfinger, Marine geologist and sub-marine seismologist at Oregon State University, who (patiently) answered my many questions about the Cascadia-subduction zone mega-quake. (Our conversations convinced me to research all possible evacuation routes before visiting the Pacific Northwest Coast ever again).
John Gossman, technology architect, for his sage advice on all things computer and technology based—and for an astonishing ability to make a mean Old Fashioned.
Paul R. Peterson, CEO of Volta Volare’ and Executive Director of the EViation Center at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, for taking the time to explain drone technology and the future of flight to a curious writer. Thanks for the personal tour and resources.
Gary Gero, Animal Consultant and bird trainer, whose friendship, support and advice on corvids helped me bring Monk the raven to life.
And to Jeffery, for never doubting me.
Here’s a short video from water.org
Sea of a Thousand Words manuscript is now in the hands of the publisher; being converted into an e-reader and the hard copy format. The graphic designer has conceived a beautiful cover and is arranging the blurb and recommendation text on the back side. What an immense relief and thrill–but also a feeling of “what do I do with myself now?” I’ve spent the last 13 months with these characters and this world. Now they won’t be just mine alone but others as well, and while I am delighted to share them, I am also a tad nervous and possessive about the thought of it.
Nevertheless, it’s high time to shift over to marketing-mode. After all, if I don’t spread the word about this novel, I shan’t need to worry about sharing them.
Stay tuned for news about the release date of Sea of a Thousand Words. I will be offering a discounted pre-purchase rate and donating a portion of each sale to the following organizations: ACLU and Water.org .
Fair winds friends,
This has become the winter of my discontent. Made less tolerable by events that daily appear in my newsfeed.
When I began Sea of a Thousand Words last January, I started with the premise, “What if a Trump-style government ever came to power?” And because my story is set in the future (2033), I extrapolated what might occur with an isolationist administration that places nationalism above all else. The phrase “lottery of birth” became central to my theme.
The world of my novel occurs at a time when the Cascadia quake has destroyed much of the west coast. The earth’s temperature continues to rise, creating a global crisis of climate refugees. Technology has advanced as predicted, and the chasm between those with power and wealth versus the rest of the world has widened to extremes. Countries have closed their borders and hired privatized, militant contractors to oversee the perimeters.
My manuscript was complete before the November election occurred, and since then I wonder if my speculative-fiction outlook for our future is perhaps too naïve. As I witness these very events starting to occur–three weeks into the new administration–I imagine myself in Emma Thompson’s role in the movie Stranger than Fiction. It is a rather unnerving thought.
And yet, I am reminded that the protagonists in my novel could also be in our future. And in that case, hope is not dead. It is likely that we already have young people in our midst who will grow up to be the heroes of our story: Somewhere out there, a leader like Reba is acquiring wisdom; an Ooligan and a Kai are learning how to resist; a warrior like Adili takes a stand. Somewhere in our world, a young girl like Dot–who may not yet realize her strength, will challenge those in power, and fighting beside her will be a loyal friend like Táan. One does not have to look to works of fiction to understand that there will always be those who will rise up against injustice.
I’m waiting for the cover art design and for proof-readers to check the accuracy of the story’s myriad of languages. As I revisit certain chapters, my excitement builds–because I realize that this isn’t so much a dystopian future as a manifesto. We will be OK just as long as there are people who possess the courage to fight.
The tagline of this novel is “Who deserves to inherit the earth?”
It is a question that, soon enough, we must all answer.