Author intervew

Here’s an interview I did with Elena Jagar at Willow Wren Books recently.

From the interview:

What do you hope young readers will take away from your books?

Optimism is a superpower. Kindness is strength. Society is something you create with those around you; what do you want it to be? In the confines of Martian habitation, tolerance is a key virtue. Care for others, as well. No one can exist without the help of others and nowhere is this more evident than in a colony on a distant planet.

 

Food update

A milestone update on Food: Generation Mars, Book Four

1) The entire book is plotted (or, at least, as plotted as I am willing to go while also leaving room for surprise). All I’ll say is that this one is monumental in scope and will take your breath in the first chapter and keep it until the last.

2) As of today, I passed 5000 words in the initial manuscript. A pittance in the face of this monster, but a milestone to be celebrated nonetheless.

image: generated by ImageFX

Rocket fuel

The next book is turning into an epic. Decided I needed more delta-v to pull it off. This oughta do it.

Sweet Maria’s, fueling writers and rocket scientists since 1997.

Envelopes

Is cannibalism appropriate for middle grade? Asking for a friend…

But seriously, this next book is shaping up to push the envelope. Several envelopes. All the envelopes, maybe.

image: Twemoji (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twemoji12_1f914.svg), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en, unaltered

Hunger

“Hunger, or the fear of it, has always played a major role in determining the actions and attitudes of man. In every age and every land people have starved…”

More light reading in preparation for the next book in the Generation Mars series: Food.

Light reading

Some light reading for the next book. In 1945, thirty-six men volunteered for the first scientific study of the effects of starvation. It wasn’t pretty.

Really feeling sorry for my main characters right now. I had a cookie about an hour ago, and my stomach is already grumbling.

(Astute followers will notice this wasn’t in the to-read stack image I posted recently. Research requires flexibility.)

So much to read

My current to-read stack, in no particular order. (This is in addition to a gazillion papers and articles on orbital dynamics, Earth-Mars cyclers, starvation, malnutrition, and food production on Mars that I am reading for the next book.)

What’s in yours? 

Surprise

I just listened to the latest episode of the Song Exploder podcast, which discusses Green Day’s Basket Case (https://songexploder.net/green-day). Turns out that the epochal ode to questionable mental health started out as a love song. Go listen to a few minutes right now, from 2:45 to about 5:10. Or listen to the whole thing if you want. I’ll wait…

That’s about how writing a book works for me (minus the crystal meth). Honestly, I don’t know exactly how I do it. I have an idea for a story; I read a bunch of stuff; I start typing every day: fragments, Socratic dialogues, technical notes, whatever bubbles up into my consciousness; eventually, the story begins to take shape and I move out of the journaling phase and into the real writing. And then surprises happen: ideas that sound good one day seem terrible the next; minor characters suddenly take on personalities that require a major plot thread; other threads that seemed critical lose their meaning and are cast aside. Finally, almost mysteriously, there is a book, and I can say with certainty that it ends up nowhere I might have guessed when I set out with that first idea.

I love that. The surprise is why I write. I can’t speak for others, but I would guess that even the most organized and methodical writers cherish that surprise when it happens. I hope they do.


(image: first draft of Kerouac’s On the Road, cc-by-sa-2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kerouac_ontheroad_scroll.jpg)

More about coming lunar activity

Here’s part II of Greg Autry‘s series on cislunar activity.

From the article: “Orbital real estate is extremely limited and – in the absence of any coordination or law preventing occupation of those desirable orbits – the rules of First Mover Advantage must apply.”

In particular, Earth-Moon Lagrange points 1 and 2 are going to be in high demand. NASA’s Lunar Gateway architecture will stake a not-so-subtle claim on L2.

I’ve already written the scenes in my next book that involve lunar landing. But, I have to say, the idea of a space elevator from L1 to near the Moon’s south pole is almost too good to ignore. I might have to revisit those scenes.

Wishing Shelf reader comment for Air (#3)

Here is one more comment for Air from a young Wishing Shelf reader. I like this one a lot. I sometimes imagine that The Martian and The Expanse occupy the same universe, with Generation Mars sitting somewhere between.

“I just watched The Martian film which I thought was amazing. This is like that but for kids. I thought this book was very different to most, as the author wants the reader to understand Mars and how it might be possible to live there, but we´ll need to solve a lot of scientific problems first. That´s a good message. This book will make children think a bit.” Girl, aged 11 – with a little help from mum

image: Illustration by Luis Peres Children’s Books Illustrator for Air