Is the trilogy done?
Book Two was always meant to be a climate dystopia, but eight years ago when I wrote it, I didn’t know there would be a popular new genre of climate fiction called cli-fi. I’ve been working on the Skye Van Bloem Trilogy for a long time; I conceived the idea almost a decade ago. People often ask if all three books are written, since only the first book Countdown has been published. The answer is yes, but I’m fond of saying that writing is 10% and editing is 90%.
What about Holding?
About a year ago, right after Countdown was published, Lindsey Alexander, editor extraordinaire, did some intensive developmental editing on Holding. I rewrote it a couple times, but it needed more. Much more than I’d thought. I worked tirelessly for many months and then decided not to publish it. Countdown is not selling as I’d hoped and I saw no reason to publish the rest of the trilogy. That is, until some readers were adamant about its merits. I was even shamed a bit since the second book is a climate dystopia. What sort of climate activist would I be if I didn’t get this out there? A bad one, according to several friends. I will not be bailing on the final book, Launch. It’s about revolution and government. Hmmmm. Perhaps I should schedule it for publication before the 2020 election.
Why is a climate dystopia important?
I’m continuing to edit, over and over, until my deadline. In about three weeks, Lindsey is expecting to receive the manuscript. Working climate issues into the text turned out to be much easier than working in biodiversity threats in Countdown, but creating a climate dystopia has been emotionally draining. As a climate activist, I work every day trying to convince people to believe in science and yet just last month I had a meeting with my elected representative in the State House of Representatives. He sat across the table from me and denied global warming. I wasn’t surprised because he’s all about taking money from the fossil fuel industry and doing their bidding. He’s also a proponent of selling off public lands for oil, gas, and mining. I offered to do a climate lecture for him; he refused with the words that I’d be boring. I’m many things, but I’ve never been told I was boring–even by college students when I was a university instructor. And I taught chemistry! What can we do about this guy? VOTE HIM OUT! We must vote for the planet, and anyone who is not onboard with saving it needs to go. Full stop.
Important climate issues
But getting back to Holding…I made a list of all the aspects of climate change that I touched on in the book. I’m rather pleased with my list, particularly because these issues aren’t shoehorned into the narrative. A couple angry teachers told me they wanted to use Countdown to teach about climate change, but were disappointed. Countdown is about biodiversity importance and although climate change impacts animals, it is not a major theme like habitat destruction, poaching, poisoning, trophy hunting, and animal cruelty. Holding is a climate dystopia. Here’s some of what I deal with:
- Water scarcity
- Geopolitical issues like war, famine, disease
- Human overpopulation
- Social justice; unequal effect on the poor and people of color
- Biodiversity loss
- Trash; poisons and plastics
- Melting ice releasing toxins; poisonous air
- Health issues
- Planet-wide temperature increases
- Food scarcity; agricultural practices
- Apocalypse driven by climate deniers and bad government
- Importance of personal choices
I realize that isn’t everything, of course. I’m fairly confident that my plot is fast moving. Skye really screws up in this book, so we get to see her try to recover from an epic mistake.
The long publication process
I hope to have Holding published by Christmas this year. The publication process is a long one. After developmental editing, I will most likely have to rewrite, then Lindsey may need to look at it again. Then it goes to copy editing with Sal Borriello, then back to me, then corrections, then formatting with the amazing Kevin Callahan, then to my proofreader, then back to me, then back to Kevin, then back to Sal. Then Rebecca Lown, my wonderful cover artist, will finish with the spine and back cover and . . . it’s a book. Kevin also formats for all the different e-books, in addition to the paperback. This book has several graphics in the interior.
I will keep you updated on the progress. Thanks for hanging with me, and as with the first book, I donate my royalties to environmental nonprofits. My protagonist Skye wouldn’t have it any other way! Interested in excerpts from the book? Let me know.
Keep helping the planet,