This May, my newest novel The Prince Who Fell from the Sky will hit the shelves. This was hardly something a month of April showers helped to grow. In fact, I remember an April three years ago when the idea for this story first emerged.
Part of my writing routine is to get back in the woods. Wandering around in nature is a wonderful way for me to work out ideas and get my creativity going. One of my favorite spots is an old NASCAR racetrack near my house that was closed back in the 1960s. In the nearly fifty years since the track was abandoned, nature has completely taken back over. What was once a cleared in-field is now a forest. Crumbling grand-stands and collapsed concession stands rise like ancient ruins among the brambles and trees.
It was around this time I heard a story on NPR about a nonfiction book of speculative science called The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. In it Weisman discusses what would happen to skyscrapers, subway systems, and suburban neighborhoods without humans around to maintain them. Nature would take back over.
I’ve always been a huge fan of animal fantasies. Some of my favorite books growing up were Watership Down, The Jungle Book, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. On my walks at the old speedway, a story began to arise. A future world where humans are gone and the forest has grown over our ruins. Big predators like wolves and bears have taken back over in our absence. They tell legends about the “Skinless Ones” who once subjected them to terrible cruelties.
Week after week, I’d take breaks from my work on the Clockwork Dark series to get back in the woods and dream up more about this post-apocalyptic animal Eden. I discovered a bear, a powerful motherly figure, who is treated as an outcast because her litters have all been stillborn. She longs to raise a cub of her own. Then one day a starship crashes in the forest. The lone survivor is a boy…a “Skinless One.”
So the idea that had begun as a fascination with the resilience of nature had grown into a captivating situation and then into a character I cared about—this bear Casseomae who decides to protect and raise a human-cub. I realized I had a story. The Prince Who Fell from the Sky was born.
Now, I’m thrilled for readers to finally have a chance to meet Casseomae and her human cub. They face enormous dangers, in particular from the wolves who rule the forest and see humans as a threat. Fortunately Casseomae meets a pair of companions: a street-smart rat named Dumpster and a dog named Pang who longs for the old days when his kind lived among humans. The three must find a safe haven for the boy if he is to survive. But what does this human’s arrival mean for the animals' beloved Forest? Readers will find out this May. And in the meantime, those April showers are hard a work in my imagination bringing a new story to life. But that’s for another May...
If you want a chance to win an advance copy of The Prince Who Fell from the Sky, make a comment here under my post or send me an email at email@example.com by Sunday, April 15th. The winner will be selected at random next Monday morning and announced here on Smack Dab as well as on my website www.johnclaudebemis.com. To be considered you must be a follower of Smack Dab in the Middle and a resident of the