I am participating in the BOWS event—the Book Owl Word Search, It's an online game for book lovers featuring books and authors from Snowy Wings Publishing. Six teams of writers each post information about one of their books, information that includes a secret word. There is also a link to follow to get to the next post from an author on the same team. (six authors per team).
My book DRIFTERS is set a thousand years or so into the future, but in many ways the story is reminiscent of the settlement of the American west. Jehan Amato, a16-year-old boy, lives on a world called Menkar VII that has no native intelligent species and was thus colonized by humans. NOTE: Human are called Terrans in my books. If I were to call them humans, then every alien species would need a species name as well as a homeworld name, and that would be too much for me—or my readers—to keep straight.
When I create colony worlds, I like to think about why people would leave their home planet and go somewhere else to live. I think our earth is going to be very crowded in the future—parts of it are very crowded now. And also, between pollution and humans' use of resources, our environment may be much less pleasant than it is now. So I can see at some future date, humans being willing to leave our planet in order to have a better quality of life. In some ways, it's a bit like the folks who left Europe in large numbers, seeking a home in the "new world" because their old world had a bad economy or too many people or a war waging or some other obstacle to living a good life. Of course, those Europeans were in fact, moving onto land already settled by other humans, even though the land seemed empty to them. In my books, colony worlds have no equivalent to Native Americans.
Some of my favorite books when I was growing up were the Little House books, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was born in Wisconsin, but her family kept moving west, first to Missouri, then Kansas. After a few years back in Wisconsin, they moved to Minnesota, and then South Dakota. Laura was born right after the American Civil War and died in 1957, so she saw a tremendous amount of change in her lifetime.
In Drifters, Jehan Amato is raised in a city, but at the age of sixteen, he finds himself forced to live with his father's nomadic people who travel across the plains of his world, much as Laura Ingalls Wilder did on earth, except Drifters don't plan to move permanently. And instead of wagons, they migrate back and forth every year in "float trains" that hover above the surface and travel much more swiftly than horse-drawn wagons. I envisioned that some of the colonists of Menkar VII would have that same spirit of the pioneers that Laura's father had—a desire to keep moving and not live in one place so I gave these folks, called Drifters, that same drive to keep moving, and a much faster way to move.
Another thing Drifters have in common with American pioneers is strict discipline. I noticed that in the Little House books. parents were very aware that their children were at risk if they wandered off into the wilderness, so they were quite firm with them, and would punish them when they broke safety rules. Jehan's father has a similar problem because Jehan grew up in a city; he has no idea why Drifters have to follow the rules they do. In his first week with the Drifter caravan, Jehan runs into very dangerous trouble TWICE!
As part of the BOWS event, I am offering to give away three free copies of Drifters. All you need to do to enter is to make a comment below, and I will draw three names of commenters as winners. You can tell me something about you—what you like to read, what you like to watch on TV. Or you can tell me if you're someone who has lived in one place or many places. My dad was in the US Navy for 20 years; between that and going away to two different colleges, I have lived in 10 states—not quite a Drifter but not someone with a home town, either. How about you?
After I draw the three names, I will reply to the winners via the blog. If you win, you will need to send me your physical address to if you choose a paperback copy or your email address if you prefer an ebook. If you win and you already have Drifters, you can choose a different ebook from my list (see the My Books tab on this blog). My email address is listed on the Contact tab if you have any questions, of if you win and need to let me know your address.
My team is the Blue Team (see the book covers in the montage at right). The next author in the BOWS Blue Team is Lyssa Chiavari. Visit her blog to find her post, read about her book, and discover her secret word!
Good luck, and happy reading!
NOTE: If you are relying on a screen reader and have not uncovered the secret word, it is "pioneers."