Today I’m excited to welcome Jonathan Nevair to the blog as we kickoff the Goodbye to the Sun Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! This week we’re showcasing his Sci-Fi LGBTQ+ novel, Goodbye to the Sun, book one in the Wind Tide series – a character-centric tale of a fight for freedom. Jonathan has been a huge supporter of Storytellers on Tour, and I’m so glad we get to show his book baby a bit of love this week. I can’t wait to hear what readers have to say about this one, so stay tuned for some fantastic features from our Roadies – it’s going to be an awesome week.
Jonathan Nevair stopped by for a chat where we discuss how this story of his came to fruition, what he hopes readers take away from this story of his, what he believes makes for a good story, the road ahead, and more! Keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, check out the awesome interview, and enter to win yourself a signed copy Goodbye to the Sun!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Goodbye to the Sun. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
JUNE 6TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Westveil Publishing (IG: @thewestveilarchives)
OllieSpOt SFF Book Reviews (& Reactions) (IG: @olliespotsffbookreviews)
Spells & Spaceships
Bookwyrm’s Guide to the Galaxy (IG: @voyagerarina)
Book and Nature Professor
JUNE 12TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
SHADOW SPARK PUBLISHING
Tucked away in the blue sands of Kol 2, the Motes are on the brink of cultural collapse. Razor, a bold and daring pilot, leads a last-ditch gambit against their local oppressors, the Targitians. The plan – abduct visiting Ambassador Keen Draden and use him as a bargaining chip to restore her people’s independence in the Sagittarius Arm. But when the operation unravels, Razor is forced to renegotiate terms with the arrogant diplomat. Battling furious Wind Tides and pursuit by an infamous bounty hunter, Razor and Keen find mutual assistance in a dubious freelancer with a knack for exposing cracks in people’s pride.
Light years away on Heroon a radical resistance blossoms. The alluring rainforest planet haunts Keen. All his problems started there during the Patent War, but it’s where Razor’s troubles may find a solution. The moral tide ebbs, exposing an impossible choice that links their futures together more tragically than they ever thought possible.
Goodbye to the Sun – a nonstop thrill ride across an unstable galaxy, combining moral struggle and character-driven adventure.
Jonathan Nevair is a science fiction writer and, as Dr. Jonathan Wallis, an art historian and Professor of Art History at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia. After two decades of academic teaching and publishing, he finally got up the nerve to write fiction. Jonathan grew up on Long Island, NY but now resides in southeast Pennsylvania with his wife and rambunctious mountain feist, Cricket. You can find him online at www.jonathannevair.com and on twitter at @JNevair
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Jonathan. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I‘ve always dreamed of being marooned on a deserted island.
Give us an idea of how Goodbye to the Sun came to fruition.
Goodbye to the Sun is my second science fiction novel. I got my “literary legs” writing the first one, which is now sentenced to my hard drive for all eternity (looking back now, it was more an exercise in learning how to write a novel than anything else). I’d written academic essays for years but fiction was an entirely new language. When I queried the first book, I got some feedback from an agent who enjoyed it, especially the world-building and prose but told me they hoped for more emotional investment in my main character. I took that as a prompt to educate myself on that side of the craft and Goodbye to the Sun was the result. In my research, the tragedy kept coming up as a particularly effective mode (Ancient Greek dramatic theater, specifically). Antigone stood out to me for its emotional transformations, struggle, and hardships as well as its theme of family vs. state. A modern version starring Jodie Whittaker grabbed my attention and gave me the inspiration to try and distill aspects in a space opera set in a secondary universe.
I queried Goodbye to the Sun after a structural edit and a pass by a sensitivity reader. Then, someone I follow on Twitter (the famous Dan Fitzgerald of #writingcommunity) posted a call for submissions to a small indie press specializing in SFF and horror, Shadow Spark Publishing. They were closing to submissions the next day (what luck!). I shot off a query letter and got a response back with a request for a partial manuscript. From there a full request followed, and after some back and forth, I signed a three-book deal.
Can you share with us something about Goodbye to the Sun that isn’t in the blurb?
The story has a great deal of ethical content, especially tensions between family and state responsibility. It throws readers between the struggles of a single human’s experience navigating a world and fighting for their loved ones and the vastness of collective politics and social design in a galactic civilization. There’s also a good deal of ecological issues lurking in the novel as well.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
I read a good deal on the structure of Greek tragedy. I had to familiarize myself with a narrative approach that was unlike what I had used in my previous fiction writing. I learned how to construct plot points and character arcs differently to achieve the narrative trajectory of a tragic tale.
What do you hope your readers take away from Goodbye to the Sun?
Whatever they like – I don’t want to impose anything. There are some core ethical dilemmas at the heart of Goodbye to the Sun. I think readers will find themselves considering where they stand regarding the characters’ actions and the politics and social decisions within the story. If anything, I hope they find themselves battling between their hearts and minds and trying to reconcile the two rather than have to choose between them.
On the lighter side, I would be delighted if they feel the Wind Tide universe through the writing. I’m big on immersion, whether in world-building or character psychology – I hope that readers are transported into the secondary world and that the hearts of Razor and Keen pump strong enough for them to feel their pulses. As an art historian, a large part of my academic writing is focused on sensory description, bringing to the mind something presented to the eyes. I delight in translating that to the genre of science fiction.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Characters, for sure. I’m a character-driven writer so that’s where it starts and ends for me. Once I have the protagonists (yep, plural – so far, all of my books have two central characters leading and pushing a story along – and this is the case with the rest of the Wind Tide series), the plot, and world are built for and around them.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
Jati! They are a wonderful character to write – deeply supportive, idealistic to a fault, philosophical, and skilled in martial arts and strategy. They also provide levity which is fun to infuse into an otherwise tragic and earnest story and cast of characters. That said, my heart poured out of my chest and into Razor’s life and struggle in Goodbye to the Sun. It’s yet to fill back up. There’s something special about Razor that I can’t let go.
What do you think makes a good story?
It depends on what kind of story you are telling, but things like tension, struggle, development, and transformation are very important for me. I also think of pacing like a tide. There should be an ebb and flow to reading and digesting a story so readers surge through the active parts as the tide rushes in, but then reflect, regroup, and recover on the ebb before the cycle repeats. For me, scenes are like waves crashing on the shoreline, coming in and going back out, pushing and pulling at the characters and the plot. The only difference is the high tide is closer to the end rather than at the midpoint of the plot. (I am a BIG fan of plot points, btw – and writing a tragedy meant being aware of distinct plot points related to its particular narrative structure, things like peripeteia and hamartia that are common to tragedies).
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
I’d probably add more to the world-building. When you are querying, it’s helpful to have your manuscript’s word count within the industry’s current boundaries for your genre, and often being on the lower end of the subgenre can be advantageous. I made Goodbye to the Sun as tight and lean as I could because of that, but it’s set in a big and complex region of the Milky Way galaxy. If I could go back, I’d build out some of the politics in the Carina-Sagittarius Arm and the Wind Tide Universe generally, both before the actual events and during the story as well. But not to fear, these come out strong in Books 2 and 3 of the series.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
First and foremost, do not take anyone else’s advice as the rule of law when it comes to writing. Everyone has to find what works for them. I am not a “write every single day” kind of person. I’m a sprinter. I write in bursts and then I pause. I edit what I’ve written and reflect. I walk, talk to myself, bang my head against the wall, write out plot options to go forward, etc. Then I hit the writing again. That’s me. Not necessarily anyone else. To put it in Yoda speak: “Know not, those who speak for others. Your own way you must find.”
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Winter or Summer?
Physical books or Ebooks?
Mountains or Oceans?
Beer or Wine?
Books or Movies?
Cowboys or Aliens?
Pie or Cake?
Rural or Urban?
Work hard or Play hard?
Work hard! I’m almost 50 and the clock is ticking – gotta use the time you have to the fullest (when I was younger, it was the other way around. Definitely play hard!)
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Jonathan. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
Goodbye to the Sun is the first in a three-book series, Wind Tide. I’m currently in final edits for Jati’s Wager (Book 2) and in the throes of writing the final book, No Song but Silence. Books 2 and 3 will release in August and November, respectively. After that, I plan to write a stand-alone novel. It will either be gritty cyberpunk with lots of action or a super clean, high-tech, post-scarcity type novel with lots of emphasis on political philosophy. I’m waiting for my gut to tell me which way to go, but I’m kind of feeling like getting my writing hands dirty, and I am obsessed with the cyberpunk aesthetic right now, so…
Enter to win a signed copy of Goodbye to the Sun by Jonathan Nevair! One copy is looking to find its forever home.
INTERNATIONAL! • Ends 6/13
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Goodbye to the Sun tour page over at Storytellers On Tour to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to share!
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