Yesterday was pretty momentous for me. It saw the long-awaited release of my second novel, Pirates Of The Moon. Finally, oh my lovely Readership, you get a chance to read my first foray into long-form science fiction.
A little background, I think. Pirates Of The Moon was initially drafted for Nanowrimo in 2011, following a conversation in which a misheard phrase became the title. I've dedicated Pirates to the man who delivered that phrase, my mate Mahdi Hastie. The first full draft was finished through the spring and summer of 2012, before going into the long, slow process of rewriting. When did I finally finish? Well, to be honest, there's still bits I could pick away at. But you have to let your stories fly eventually.
Notes on the plot. Pirates Of The Moon introduces the world of Aurora Armstrong. A headstrong junior orbital pilot, she flies the Foxfire Five, a freighter that also serves as the family home for her, her dad Nils and little brother Dash. Something has happened to her mum, who is the main pilot of the ship. That means Aurora (her friends call her Rory) has to take on a lot of responsibility very quickly. It's a difficult atmosphere,, and Rory is struggling.
Then the Foxfire runs into an asteroid storm, and everything changes in an instant. Rory and Dash are suddenly homeless, stranded far from help and chased down by a madman called Janke Van Hoek, who has one aim–to take the moon for himself and his crew. Rory and Dash have a fight on their hands against the erstwhile Pirate King Of The Moon!
I wanted to do a couple of things with Pirates. Firstly, I wanted to write a young adult book that wasn't a dystopia, and that referenced the stories I loved as a kid–the YA books of Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton, Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles and, perhaps the strongest influence, Brian Earnshaw's Dragonfall 5 books. Secondly, I wanted to see if I could write a believable female lead who wasn't just a boy in disguise. I hope I've succeeded, but I guess you'll have to be the judge of that.
Do you like the cover? I'm really pleased with it. A deliberate homage to the cover of Hergé's classic Tintin book Explorers On The Moon, it's been beautifully put together by artist Mark Stroud. We think it's a triumph, and can't recommend Mark enough for all your book design needs.
I need to drop a few thank yous. To the Coopers, in particular Lily, who was kind enough to do a test reading for the target audience. To Clive Ashenden, who as always brought focus and clarity. And to Rob Maythorne, the man behind Verse Publishing, without which this wouldn't have happened. Well, not in this form, anyway.
What next? Well, the book dropped yesterday, so this is where the real work starts. I'll be pushing it on the usual social channels, and Verse have an actual honest to god advertising campaign up and running. But really, Rob and I just want you to read Pirates Of The Moon, and let us know what you think. And, more importantly, if you love it, to let other people know. You can leave reviews and star ratings on Amazon, which can help a book sell no end. Spread the word!
It's a strange feeling to spend years on something, quietly and privately honing it, then releasing it into the world with the clear understanding that it isn't yours anymore. My name's on the cover, but Pirates Of The Moon belongs to you now. Treat it nice, eh?
Where can you get it? Why, right here…