I have a strong feeling of unreality on the eve of Horizon’s publication. It’s a feeling that has been dogging me for a couple of weeks now. As writers we invest so much time, thought, effort and care into our writing it consumes a large portion of our lives. For expanses of time the worlds we create are more intimately known and understood by us than the world we live in.
I don’t imagine I’m any different to many other authors who finally get to see their first novel published. It’s been a long pathway. Starting back in the late 90s (the exact year is lost in too many rewrites), I attended a short TAFE course run by Aurealis editor Dirk Strasser on ‘Writing SF, Fantasy and Horror'. That led to a slush pile reader job at Aurealis and both those things opened me up to writing again. I’d done a lot of writing as a child and teenager but all that had ground to a halt by my twenties. As a result I enrolled in a TAFE professional writing and editing course and the novel writing module forced me to come up with an idea for a novel. That was the seeds of Horizon. A couple of years on and I had a reasonable draft. A meeting with Jack Dann helped me to get that draft in front of TOR in the US. Subbing novels ‘on spec’ takes a long time. About 2½ years passed with a rejection at the end. Marianne De Pierres stepped up and, on her recommendation, I subbed it to Orbit UK. A couple of years later Horizon was rejected. The novel dropped into my bottom drawer, but I hadn't stopped after Horizon so by then I had a few published short stories and a decent chunk of a space opera trilogy drafted.
Then HarperVoyager opened up its digital submissions in October 2012. I subbed Horizon and waited. February 2014 rolled around and Horizon was picked up for digital publication through the Voyager Impulse imprint. The time between then and now has been filled with editing, proofing and final polishing. It’s nearly November. Horizon is out tomorrow. It’s an intimate story, told in the confines of a small spaceship with a handful of crew. But the action has repercussions far beyond that. It deals with ideas that are important to all of us right now, including global conflict and the shift of power, and climate change and the adequacy (or otherwise) of humanity’s response, as well as showing the lengths people will go to protect what they think is important. I think it’s a good story, but others will be the ultimate judges. All I can do is hope that you enjoy it.