Today on my blog I am welcoming Jonathan Nevair into the Indie Spotlight.
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.
His debut novel, Goodbye to the Sun, is a character-driven space opera inspired by the Greek tragedy, Antigone. It releases May, 18, 2021. Goodbye to the Sun is the first book in the Wind Tide trilogy, to be published by Shadow Spark Publishing.
Contact Jonathan here:
Hello, Jonathan and welcome to my blog! First of all, let me congratulate you on the publication earlier this week of your debut novel, Goodbye to the Sun!!
What made you decide to publish your book via an independent press?
I was lucky enough to receive a positive response to a query letter I sent to Shadow Spark Publishing for Goodbye to the Sun. I’d been querying both agents and indie presses and when they read my full manuscript and invited me to join the house I didn’t hesitate. For me, an indie press offers the same kind of environment and working approach I’ve always welcomed in my professional life. I teach at a small art & design college where everyone knows each other’s names – and not just the staff but a majority of the students as well. A small and close community is something I’m used to professionally and that I thrive in – so an indie press was a great fit for me. I admire the drive and energy of people working in the indie community. It was obvious to me that Jessica Moon and Mandy Russell at Shadow Spark were serious about their publishing company. That mattered to me. Also, the timeline for publication as an indie author can be faster (and more assured) than taking the traditional publishing route where you land an agent, sub a manuscript, etc.
What are the benefits of being an indie author?
Taking risks and being able to employ unorthodox approaches to literary style, storyline, and content! Goodbye to the Sun has a rather unusual POV structure. It toggles chapter-by-chapter between 1st person and 3rd person limited. There’s a very important reason for that. It has to do with my desire to offer readers the ability to experience an event through two points of view, one “internal” and one “external,” while also recounting events as a personal narrative 60 years later as the story unfolds in the present – is that a bit strange? Sure. That literary approach made some agents hesitant to read my manuscript, and some outright reject my query. I understand why – there’s a need to be mindful about the market in traditional publishing. But that’s a benefit of being an indie author. I was lucky because Shadow Spark’s call for submissions explicitly stated an interest in authors whose approaches were unexpected and unique. When I read that I knew I had to send them a query – so glad I did!
The other thing for me about going indie is the community – in my case, being part of a small indie house is amazing. Jessica and Mandy have created an intimate yet professional literary family. The house has a Discord channel – at present, there are about 10 authors (soon to be more) who have fostered close working relationships and those who are already published mentor us “newbies.” We all share tips and resources and help each other through difficult moments. We have some great laughs as well. You can have more involvement with the creative and design aspects of your books as an indie author, whether as part of a small house or self-publishing through direct collaboration with other creatives in the field.
That sounds like the perfect arrangement. On the flipside, what challenges do indie authors face?
The number one challenge for me is marketing! It’s difficult to get visibility in the marketplace – social and cultural capital has to be built yourself and in my case with the support of an indie house. When you go indie you have to wear a lot of hats. You need to research reviewers and bloggers, send out review requests, build up a social network and following, and figure out how to reach your readers – and I won’t even go into all the other technology-based aspects of the publishing process. But ironically, this is fantastic because it becomes an asset – I’ve learned to curate my work, construct my author identity/brand and presence on social media, and build my outreach. You become an autonomous professional to an extent, with a suitcase full of resources and skills beyond being a strict “writer.”
Being part of a supportive community is so important. What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?
Whatever you are planning, do it earlier than you think you should! This goes for everything related to being an indie author – writing schedule, review queries, etc. You have to be sure you contact bloggers and reviewers early (I suggest 6 months) in your publication timeline, as well as editors and sensitivity readers if you plan on hiring them to work on a manuscript. With the increasing number of writers choosing to go indie (yay!), there’s a lot of people booking services from professionals and this will ensure you can secure a spot within your timeframe for publication.
What have you learned from being an indie author?
Well, I’m still just starting out, so I don’t have too much to say here. There are others much more seasoned than me. I’ve learned that there is an amazing support system out there – and this goes for indie and trad authors and professionals. The writing community is a supportive place (sure there are “moments” on Twitter, etc. but for the most part everyone wants everyone else to succeed – or at least I see it that way). And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention and recognize the incredible support indie writing and publishing communities are getting from reviewers and bloggers these days – they are doing so much to help support us and get the word out, to help promote our books, and shout out to the reading world about indie books. That has been a wonderful help for indie platforms. We notice it and we appreciate it – thanks!
Well on behalf of the blogging community: You’re very welcome!
What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
I have three books coming out this year – a space opera trilogy (Wind Tide) that will be released three months apart in May, August, and November, respectively. I’m excited because 2021 is my debut year as a fiction author and being able to drop three books in a short sequence is advantageous. Keep an eye out for the series!
That’s amazing! It never ceases to amaze me when authors publish the sequels to their books in such quick succession!
Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Jonathan, and good luck with your upcoming trilogy!
The Wind Tide
A space opera trilogy inspired by Ancient Greek texts. If you like galaxy-spanning adventures set on alluring planets and characters who struggle with moral philosophy, you’ll enjoy this series.
A world of wind:
Justice ebbs and flows through the Sagittarius Arm. For three Spans a galactic civilization has risen and fallen, fighting to survive and expand humanity’s reach. Energy is capital and terraforming technologies are highly coveted. Wind power drives both economy and spiritual worship, and comes at the cost of colonial oppression and environmental cataclysm.
But not all desire greed and political supremacy. The Legion rises, built to fight those who occupy star systems with willful arrogance. The Patent War is fought to preserve autonomous planetary societies and to keep the Arm free of monopolistic tyranny.
Victory comes with a hard price. Traces of anger lead to excessive punishment for the losing side. Resentment brews and a new rebel resistance rises. In the more isolated star systems, it forms from those who are outcasts on their own planets. They fight for equality and to repossess their lost, indigenous cultures. Others rise against outside oppressors and long-term occupations, driven by endless hegemonic rule and harsh sanctions.
But this is a human battle, built from a foundation of morality and the struggle between honor, family and responsibility to the state. Will the Wind Tide rise and fill the sails of justice or will it abate under the pressures of greed and domination?
Goodbye to the Sun (Wind Tide Bk 1)
Goodbye to the Sun is a nonstop thrillride across an unstable galaxy, combining moral struggle with character-driven adventure.
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.
Buy Goodbye to the Sun here:
Add Goodbye to the Sun to your To Be Read List here:
Look out for my review of Goodbye to the Sun on June 11th as part of a blog tour.
Who is next on Indie Spotlight?
Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, labourer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as travelling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters and insights for his award-winning stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Shortstory Prize, The Harry Bowling Prize, The Henshaw Press Short Story Competition and The National Association of Writers’ Groups Open Competition – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost short-story writers.
Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife,
Nicola, their labradoodle, Barney and two tyrannical children.