Growing up I read a lot. Historical things, fantasy, hard sci fi, space opera, novels, short stories, everything from Heinlein to Gibbon. I liked the ideas, the characters, the action, the adventure, the speculation about people and technology, as well as the facts and amazing people in real life history. I got a degree in computer science in part because computers were the future.
But then, gradually, I found it harder and harder to find new books I liked. I wasn’t sure why it was. I looked at the vast array of things on the shelf and saw nothing that appealed to me. An awesome cover would catch my eye, then I’d read the description, and put it back down. I ended up rereading older things, and got busy with a life of my own, and went browsing in bookstores ever more rarely because the gatekeepers were not producing much of anything I wanted. If I wanted angst-ridden dystopias filled with mental sickness, hopelessness, corruption, and bad writing, I’d pick up a newspaper.
Then I had my own kids, and I went looking for things for THEM to read…. and found myself returning to the old stuff, now somewhat dated, but still with stories that were not about garbage I really didn’t want them reading until they were older, and had a base of knowledge and maturity so they would be able to understand it in a more healthy context. They liked the stories I told them, and I had a lot of ideas inspired in various ways by Golden Age sci fi, so I decided to start writing my own. I wanted action, adventure, white hats winning, black hats losing, comic relief, enough depth to make a person think, strong but different and complex characters, and more than a few tongue-in-cheek external references. I wanted something that I’d be OK with my kids reading when they were a little older, and something I’d not be embarrassed if my parents read it, either.
I became aware of aware of kerfuffle in the Sci Fi community and publishing just about the time I was aiming to enter it, and I figured it was as good a time as any to dive in, so I self-published. After selling about 2k copies on my own, I accidentally gained a publisher, a newly established one by the name of Castalia House.
Vox said, in so many words, that his first thought when he came across my book was “what the hell is this?” But after looking into it a bit, decided that he wasn’t one to argue with the market, which seemed to like the story they saw in spite of it’s not being in a conventional format. So he offered me a contract. So now a sequel is imminent, a short story in an anthology is out, a conventional prose format of the same book (I rewrote TSCB) as well, a prequel is about 45k words along, and a children’s book about the battle of marathon is being illustrated.