Which genre do you love to write in?
I’m curious if you’re a writer who sticks to one genre or someone who likes to dabble in multiple forms?
I’m guilty of the latter. I say ‘guilty’ because I’m not sure that spreading myself over one, two, even three genres is a good thing or not.
When I started out, I loved writing middle grade fiction but I feel my strength, now that I’ve had success with my debut novel, ‘The Sentinel’, is more in literary fiction. I still enjoy writing middle grade and young adult stories though.
I’m about to publish a middle-grade cli-fi novel that I’ve been writing on and off for the past decade or so. Cli-fi stands for Climate Fiction, or Climate Change Fiction. It was not a genre I’d heard of when I first started writing this book but it’s rapidly becoming more popular.
Today I thought I’d give you a sneak peek into the story, the impulse behind writing it and an excerpt. I even have a preview of the cover for you to look at.
My work-in-progress is called ‘The Cloud Captains’. It’s the story of a 15 year old girl (Sally Winter) who dreams of becoming a Cloud Captain (highly skilled pilots who are able to fly clouds) like her sister, Sophie. Sally is always in the shadow of her famous sister and arrives at Cloud Academy (where the pilots are trained) desperate to prove she has what it takes to be an elite Cloud Captain. Sally ends up disgracing herself and is forced out of a mission to save the world from drought. It seems she’s failed until she stumbles upon the Top Secret Hangar 9 and the mystery of what lies within. Along with the outcast Aqaalim Ben, and his friends, Sally finally proves her worth.
The idea for the story came to me one day as I was flying between Melbourne and Adelaide. We were above the clouds and, as I looked down, I wondered what it would be like to float on a cloud or, even better, to fly one. That’s when I thought of clouds with bridge controls that pilots could access through a hidden set of stairs. This was at the end of the millennial drought and so the notion of a desperate desire for water and the protection of water resources added extra layers to the story.
I wrote the book in fits and starts over many years but I’m close to finishing it now.
I’m excited to reveal a preview of ‘The Cloud Captains’ cover below:
And, finally, here’s an excerpt from the book. I hope you like it!
Miss North slams her clicker down, startling us. We glance at each other unsure what’s happening and then, into the echo of the pause, Yaaqim rises from his seat. His voice is soft but it reverberates throughout the room.
‘My people tell the stories of that time,’ he says. ‘I sometimes think we speak of nothing else. I know that once the rains fell so all the world was like a mirror reflecting the sky. That the rains fell in torrents so strong it was as if a giant took a knife to the underbelly of a cloud and sliced it open. My people developed systems of water capture to retain the rains; aquifers like you have here in Valle Verde, but also sabkhas – underground aquifers – where we could store water from one season to another but not now. Clouds do not rise over the mountains. How we long for those clouds again.’
He fixes his eyes on Miss North who’s nodding.
‘This is why we are here,’ he gestures to indicate Pۃ and Ben. ‘We Aqaalim must learn to capture the clouds too.’
There’s a snort and Avinnia jumps to her feet followed by EJ.
‘And steal our water!’ she says.
‘Be quiet, Cadet,’ says Miss North.
‘I won’t,’ says Avinnia. ‘My parents told me all the Aqaalim want is to keep the water for themselves.’
‘As Valle Verde has done for far too long?’ asks Yaaqim, quiet and steady.
‘You think you’re the only ones who are hurting?’ she yells. ‘We need help too!’
Avinnia draws in her breath, turns bright red and runs toward the door. EJ follows close behind. Just as they reach the door it opens and Captain Corner enters. She stares after Avinnia and EJ as they push past her and rush out of the room.
‘Since when did Meteorology class become so controversial, Miss North?’ says Captain Corner after we salute and sit back down.
‘We went a little off-track,’ replies Miss North.
‘Ah,’ says Captain Corner, ‘times have changed since I taught Meteorology then. I would suggest you stick to the subject, perhaps the system of warm and cold fronts that affect the currents in the Sundra Sea? That might be less adversarial and will not disturb the other classes.’
‘Yes Ma’am. Sorry Ma’am.’
Captain Corner nods. Her eyes search the room and light on me.
I stand and salute.
‘Come with me.’
Let me know what you think in the comments section below 🙂
Until next time,