Our featured author today is cgerrib!
Let’s give him a warm welcome! Or, to be more accurate, a warm welcome back.
Hallelujah we’re back!
I’m glad to see that Balloon Juice has arisen from the dead of Not-Quite 365 Data Centers. It was looking dicey for a while there.
My name is Chris Gerrib, and I’ve been reading Balloon Juice since John Cole was complaining about how we were in the process of hosing up the occupation of Iraq. When I comment (very occasionally now) it’s under the nym of cgerrib. (Yeah, original).
Around this time last year, I was on the site to talk about my science fiction novel Pirates of Mars. I’m back here now to talk about my latest book, One of Our Spaceships is Missing. It’s newly-released into the world and I think the title says everything you need to know about the book. Instead, I’d like to talk about how the book came to be.
This novel is my fourth and comes out four years after my last novel. (No, didn’t plan it that way – that’s just how the cookie crumbled.) I got my previous publishing contracts the old-fashioned way, namely by sending in blind queries and hoping to get back something other than a form rejection email. This book took a different path.
In December 2021 I attended the World Science Fiction Convention, which was held at the Omni Shoreham in Washington DC. The Omni is an old hotel from the 1930s with a large back patio area. That plus beautiful weather plus whatever variant of COVID that was going around at the time meant a lot of people were hanging out on the patio between events.
One such afternoon on the patio I ran into Bill Tracy. We had met previously at other writing events and got to talking. He told me he was founding a publishing company focusing on science fiction and fantasy with queer characters. I said “gee, I’ve got a novel on my hard drive with a gay FBI agent.” He said send it and I did.
As it happens, I’d always struggled with the beginning of this book, and had been shopping it around with two different first chapters. After Bill read the book, we had a Zoom call, which ended with me writing an entirely new Chapter 1 and re-writing half of Chapter 2. These changes percolated through the book in interesting ways.
Now, normally authors are told to start their story “in medias res” – in the middle of things. But this novel is a heist story, and heist stories require some setup. You need to either know what’s going to be heisted or who’s doing the heist and preferably both. The new opening of the book answers those questions. So about the gay FBI agent? Well, heist stories are thrillers. Standard Thriller Subplot #3 is this – hunky, honest and not-terribly bright man is paired with sexy, mysterious and smart (oh, and did I say she was sexy?) woman and asked to investigate something. Whenever the author needs to pad their wordcount, the two characters have hot sex until the requisite wordcount is reached. I’ve seen a lot of that in literature and film, so I decided to stand it on its ear. You’ll have to read the book to find out how.
There’s some salty language and violence, so the book is not for little kids, but Juicers and high schoolers should be able to handle it. I hope the gang here finds it to their liking. You can visit my website to buy it and my other books via Amazon or Indiebound.
Thanks to John Cole and Watergirl for this opportunity and keep up the faith!
If you would like your talents featured in the Artists in Our Midst series – or your work as an author featured in our Authors in Our Midst series – please send me an email message.