I'm pleased that The Sun Runners, my young adult science fiction novel set on Mercury, has found a home with Shadowpaw Press (the product page can be found here). The first elements of this story came to me in December 2014 and I've been working on this story for nine years since. It's been a long journey. I went down some blind alleys, threw out and revised tens of thousands of words, revised and fine-tuned and, in the end, built not only a single story about a beleaguered colony on the unlikely planet Mercury, but a wider universe that stretches over multiple books. A universe that I'm offering to share. More on this later.
Shadowpaw Press is a boutique publishing company headquartered in Regina, established by award-winning author Edward Willett (and a good friend of Arthur Slade, who gave a glowing reference when I asked him about Ed). Though founded by Ed, he doesn't work alone, as The Sun Runners had to go through Shadowpaw's Editorial Advisory Board. Shadowpaw is also a member of Canada's Literary Press Group and is thus distributed through LitDistCo, giving its books access to many bookstores across Canada.
The Sun Runners is, I hope, the first book in a series that I've tentatively entitled The Silent Earth Sequence. The companion book, The Cloud Riders, set on Venus and Mars, is still being edited and revised. The premise of this series is that the Earth fails to fully address the problem of climate change. Instead, it just pushes the issue back long enough to establish space colonies throughout the inner solar system and the Asteroid Belt. When the Earth's environmental problems catch up and collapse Earth society, those colonies are left in various states of self-sufficiency (or, in many cases, not). How do these people deal with the fact that the Earth is suddenly no longer there, that space travel (and thus, trade) is severely curtailed? How can they survive, mentally and physically? And what do they do when, fifty years later, the Earth claws its way back?
The Sun Runners has a dual storyline. One focuses on Adelheid Koning, a young officer on one of the constantly moving latitude towns of Mercury, when Earth's collapse ends up thrusting her in charge. The other focuses on Adelheid's granddaughter, Freida, who fifty years later finds herself an unwilling queen of her latitude town when the Earth wakes from its silence, forced to navigate between the wishes of her people for a return to normalcy, and her grandmother's deep suspicion of what Earth is truly like, after going dark for so long.
I'm delighted to be working with Edward Willett and Shadowpaw Press in getting The Sun Runners to press within the next 12 to 18 months. Shadowpaw Press feels like the little publishing house that could, and The Sun Runners feels like the not-so-little (115,000 words) novel that could. After all this time, I'm eager to have this novel out into the world, and I believe it has a great champion.
I have a lot of people to thank for bringing The Sun Runners this far -- so many, that I'm sure I'm going to forget plenty. But in this paragraph, let me thank my beta readers, including John Baglow, Kate Blair, Leah Bobet, Mar Fenech, Mark Richard Francis, JM Frey, Ishta Mercurio, and Terry Rudden, as well as everybody at Marsha Skrypuch's online critique group. I'd like to thank the editorial board at ECW Press who, although they didn't publish this novel, did list The Sun Runners as a finalist in their 2022 New Speculative Novel Contest. Thanks, of course, to Edward Willett and everybody at Shadowpaw Press for taking a chance on me and this book, and thanks especially to Erin and my kids for their love and support (including but not limited to editorial suggestions and read-throughs). It really does take a community to get a book into print, and having a family who loves you and your book helps a heck of a lot as well.
Stay tuned for more announcements as they occur.