February 24, 2016

Local boys self-publish science fiction adventure

As published in The Erin Advocate

When I was 12, I thought that I could write a novel. I’ve now been procrastinating for 47 years. Despite earning a degree in English literature and writing thousands of newspaper articles, there is still no novel in sight.

So I was a bit envious when I met Henri Clark from Hillsburgh, who just went ahead and did it. His 13th birthday party was also a book launching.

The Adventures of Zeppron features a hero in another universe whose space ship is shot down, far from his home planet. He makes alliances with mysterious characters and does high-tech battle with an even more mysterious enemy. 

Author Henri Clark and Illustrator George Wilson
“Zeppron is young and small, but with the knowledge of an adult,” said Henri. “He uses technology to his advantage, like MacGyver.” Angus MacGyver was a TV secret agent (1985-1992) known for solving complex problems by making devices out of ordinary objects.

Science fiction is a good way for a novelist to start out, since there is plenty of inspiration in popular movies and TV shows, and it permits a wide range of possibilities.

“I can invent technology for whatever I need,” said Henri, who wrote the book in about 4 months. It started out as a short story, but with so many ideas floating around, it expanding to a 169-page novel, and a plan to write five more as a series.

Adventures include the use of a glowing golden device called the Staff of Zepronas that can restore things that have been damaged. Then there is the amazing suit that enables Zeppron to fly and control weapon systems.

The story focuses on the friendship among the good guys, with many narrow escapes as they try to stop the evil Blackhat from succeeding.

“It’s not supposed to be happy or sad – it is a series of cliffhangers, getting the reader to the next section,” said Henri.

His partner in the publishing project is his friend George Wilson, who created the illustrations that appear on the title pages for each part. He is also working on promotion.

They have their own business card and postcard to advertise the book, and they’ve been interviewed by a columnist from Metroland Media.

The book looks cool with its glossy cover, and though it was done for fun, they are selling it for $9.59 US ($13+ CAN) on Amazon.com. Just Google the words Zeppron and Clark and you’ll find a number of websites from different countries selling the book.

It was done through the website blurb.com, which for a very low cost enabled them to set the book up, get a small number of copies and make it available to the public.

With the “print-on-demand” system, customers get the book in just a few days, and there is no need for an expensive inventory.