The Research Behind the Sunset Rising Trilogy
By S.M. McEachern
Believe it or not, the first novella I ever wrote was a non-fiction well-researched essay titled, Natures Revenge: Fishing Troubled Waters in the Philippines. Much of my background in writing is academic in nature, so when I made the transition to writing fiction, my love of research came with me. In fact, the concept for Sunset Rising first came to me when I researching ocean-atmospheric interaction, and the role its absence played in an experimental biodome’s inability to produce adequate oxygen. The thought that we might one day need a biodome intrigued me, and led me to wonder how life as we know it would evolve in an enclosed space with finite resources.
In creating my fictional biodome, the first question that came to mind is how could the inhabitants take advantage of the earth’s resources without leaving their safe haven. Obviously, they could drill down into the earth without exposing themselves to the outside world, but how far could they go down? I found my answer in the Mponeng Gold Mine in South Africa. At already 2.5 miles deep, the mining company is continuing to drill down to reach a depth of 3 miles. The closer they get to the earth’s core, the hotter the rock face becomes with temps reaching as high as 140 degrees at a 2 mile depth. Ice slurries are used to keep the tunnels at a barely tolerable 85 degrees. And with 236 miles of tunnels, a literal underground economy of armed “ghost miners” has developed, complete with families and even prostitutes living in the mine for extended periods of time. If you’re intrigued, you can read more on my blog with links to some pretty cool video footage of the mine: http://smmceachern.com/the-real-pit/
In imagining a post-apocalyptic world outside of my biodome, I spent a fantastic afternoon, in person, with Chris Kratt of the Wild Kratts brainstorming about which creatures could survive a nuclear winter. We talked about everything from available food sources (mostly meat since plants would die in a nuclear winter) to a creature’s ability to adapt to colder environment. By the end of our brainstorming, I was able to imagine what I think is a pretty cool and accurate post-nuclear holocaust creature world. You can read more about our conversation here: http://smmceachern.com/chattin-with-chris-kratt-about-a-post-apocalyptic-creature-world/
And the last bit of research I think is worth sharing is the technological future my fictional society may be headed toward: nanotechnology. Exploration of the nanoworld is completely changing our understanding of the laws of nature. It has the potential to revolutionize everything from medical science to how we consume resources. It’s a broadly applied science that’s developing at such a rapid pace that it’s difficult to keep up. When writing Worlds Collide, I reached out to the National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT) in Canada, and Dr. Adam Bergren was generous enough to talk to me over the phone, supply me with current research, and even read over my nanotech parts in my manuscript. Click here to read my interview with Dr. Bergren: http://smmceachern.com/interview-nanotech-expert/
To me, research is one of the more interesting aspects of writing science fiction. I find that when it comes to igniting my imagination, I usually find inspiration in reality.
Cheers - Susan
Sunset Rising Trilogy
(Sunset Rising #1-3)
Publication date: December 25th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Limited Time Preorder price of just $4.99! Have it delivered December 25th!Special edition of the ebook set of the Sunset Rising Trilogy, which includes: Sunset Rising, Worlds Collide, New World Order, and—available in ebook format for the first time—all seven satellite stories!
Sunset Rising: Born a slave inside a government biodome, seventeen-year-old Sunny O’Donnell becomes a pawn in a political plot that sparks a rebellion. Accused of treason and facing execution, she escapes with a man she considers an enemy and discovers she not only has to work with him to survive, but also lead the revolution.Worlds Collide: Sunny and Jack must continue a life of subterfuge in order to stay alive and find a way to free the Pit. But in their attempt to save the urchins, they uncover the horrifying truth about President Holt and the evil he could unleash on the world.
A Readers Favorite 2015 Book Award Gold Medal winner!
New World Order: While Sunny and Jack struggle to find each other in the lawless post-apocalyptic world, tensions between the Pit and the Dome escalate. In the action-packed conclusion of the Sunset Rising Trilogy, friends will become enemies and enemies will become friends on a journey that will lead to a new world order.
Satellite Stories: For the first time in ebook format, the seven satellite stories are included with the trilogy. Find out what’s happening in the Pit between books one and two, and get a closer look at some of the other people in Sunny’s life.
The Sunset Rising Trilogy ebook boxed set is up for the special pre-order price of $4.99 and includes seven satellite stories.
EXCERPT BOOK 1 – Sunset Rising:
(Sunny O’Donnell and Jack Kenner on starting a rebellion)
“You do catch on quickly,” Jack said, smiling.
I loosened my grip on the rifle, and he lowered it. “Am I scaring you, Jack?”
Suddenly Jack’s hands were on me, and he threw me over his hip. I hit the floor with an ungraceful flop.
“A little bit.” He stepped away and left me to pick myself up. “It’s going to be lights out soon, so we should wrap it up,” he said to the room.
“Can we try again tomorrow?” Raine asked.
Jack looked around the room to see if anyone else was interested. Most people wanted to come back. Jack asked the guards, and they agreed as well.
“You were amazing tonight,” Jack said once we were alone. “You blew me away.”
“I guess it went well.”
“You were great, but we only had maybe fifty people in that room, not nearly enough to take on the few hundred guards that patrol down here. I told you before, power comes with numbers, and we don’t have numbers.”
“I don’t think we stand much of a chance anyway. I expect someone in that room will gladly turn us in for the four hundred credits Holt is offering.”
When we arrived at our apartment, I scanned my hand across the lock and went in.
“I know. I think that too.” Jack shut the door behind him. Then he picked up one of the chairs and put it under the doorknob. I gave him an inquisitive look. “At least it will give us a little notice if someone comes.”
“I’ve always known we’ll be caught eventually, but now that it might be real, I’m scared.”
I didn’t want to die now that I had found a reason to live. I wanted to see this rebellion through and free Summer from Holt; have the chance to find my father if he was still alive; help liberate the Pit from centuries of slavery. I wanted time to finish what we started.
“You’re scared?” he asked in surprise. “I can’t believe the girl who stood up on a chair and convinced an entire room to start a rebellion is scared.”
“And you’re not?”
“Terrified. Hey, what was wrong with Raine’s wife? She seemed a little out of it.”
“Women get that way after they’re sterilized.”
“After they’re what?”
“Sterilized.” He had an odd look on his face. “You must know about the Sterilization Program. Your government came up with it ten years ago. If a couple doesn’t qualify to have a child, the woman is sterilized, and whatever they inject her with makes her go… blank. The injection changes a woman. She’s not as full of life as she used to be.”
Jack was staring at me with a horrified look on his face when the lights went out, leaving us in darkness. Maybe he didn’t know about that program.
“We should get some sleep,” I said.
“I’ll take the chair.”
“No. We shared last night, we can do it again tonight.” Considering the way I responded to his kiss this morning, it probably wasn’t a good idea. But we both needed a decent sleep. Jack was exhausted from sleeping in the chair, and I couldn’t afford to be tired and sloppy with Madi as my supervisor.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. Just stay on your on side of the bed.” But I didn’t really mean it. I walked toward the bedroom.
“That bed isn’t big enough to have sides.” He stumbled after me, knocking a chair over.
“You really can’t see, can you?”
“And you’re surprised? It’s pitch black in here.”
I took him by the hand and guided him toward the bedroom. He took off his t-shirt and flopped down on the bed. Since he was blind in the dark, I stripped off my vest and put my t-shirt back on before I climbed in.
“It’s not pitch black in here. The guards use nightlights, and it leaks into the apartment.”
He opened his eyes as wide as he could and looked around the room. “I guess you have to born in the Pit to find light where there isn’t any.”
I rolled that thought over in my mind and realized just how true it was.
S.M. McEachern (also known as Susan) comes from the rocky shores of Canada’s East Coast. As a resident of Halifax during her early adult years, she attended Dalhousie University and earned an Honors Degree in International Development Studies with a focus on ocean development. Throughout her academic studies and early career, Susan had the privilege to study and work with Elizabeth Mann Borgese (daughter of nobel prize winner, Thomas Mann). An author in her own right and a political activist for world peace, Mrs. Mann Borgese played a significant influence on Susan’s view of the political world stage.
Sunset Rising is Susan's debut novel, which was published in November 2012. The second novel of the series, Worlds Collide was released in March 2014 and she is currently working on the third book of the series titled, New World Order, due to be released January 2015. For writing inspiration, Susan likes to go on long walks with her iPod (Keane and Moby are among her favorites). A few fun facts about Susan: she loves lattes, red wine, snorkelling, hiking and talking about herself in the third person.
If you'd like to read some satellite stories on the Sunset Rising series, visit her website: http://smmceachern.com/category/satellite-stories/
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