Notice? I haven’t posted as much as usual on TeleRead. I’ve had a distraction—the publication of my new thriller, No Taller than My Gun. The Kindle ebook and the paperback went on sale at Amazon this week, and other global stores and digital formats will follow. Hardback and audiobook versions will appear.
Gun is a twisty fast-paced story of genius, hope, and family set amid the chaos and bloodshed of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of the near future. Two smart hardworking freelancers in the DRC, one of them a leading civic activist, fact-checked and critiqued Gun. Props to Boweya Bo Boto Junior and Jean Felix Mwema Ngandu, a former Mandela Fellow. A footnoted Author’s Note explains the relationship between my fiction and reality. Here’s an overview of the story:
When 15-year-old Lemba Adula and his twin sister flee their war-imperiled village, they have no idea what’s in store for them. Lemba becomes a drone-loving computer whiz in the mega-city of Kinshasa, while Josiane aspires to be a rumba star. But murderous gun-worshippers kidnap the brilliant techie, and to keep his parents safe, he must fight for the wrong side. He must even become a sea-going pirate. Meanwhile Josiane faces different menaces as bad as Lemba’s. Only he can save her. And for now, he is a captive of the thuggish Congolese Purification Army—led by a seven-foot-tall whackjob all too handy with his AK-47 and machete. As Lemba fights both the Purifiers and their enemies, he also battles to keep his humanity while protecting the people he loves.
Gun mixes the dystopian and utopian. Yes, the ending is upbeat and even inspirational. I’m not trying to predict the future, but rather remind people of the possibilities. From my Author’s Note: “Could one man or woman not only invent new technologies but also help bring peace, prosperity, and honest government to a whole country? I admit the utopianism of it all even if there are and will be many Lembas or partial Lembas. But I can at least offer the scenario of, ‘What if things can go right in the Congo?’ Maybe a few strands of my vision will help encourage young techies and political activists there and in other African countries. W. B. Yeats, the Irish poet, wrote that ‘In dreams begin responsibility,’ a line which inspired the title of Delmore Schwartz’s most famous short story. So why not a variant? ‘In novels can begin realities?’ Look at Jules Verne, having the gall in the nineteenth century to fantasize in detail of moon rockets.”
The book is for young adults and older. It’s told as Lemba’s war memoir written in 2050, a quarter of a century after the main action.
I’ll welcome library marketing tips and others. In line with my library advocacy, I want to sell the ebook to libraries for the standard $2.99, the same price as for other buyers, and the idea also will apply to the audiobook, which I expect to go for around $15-$16. The distribution systems in place encourage metered checkouts, but I’ll at least see if I can bypass that. I’ll be digitally distributed through both Amazon and Draft2Digital, which has a relationship with OverDrive. I’ll also use Ingram for the 192-page paperback ($9.95) and hardback (price not firmed up).
Please feel free to pass this post (adapted from Facebook) along to people who would be genuinely interested in it. And of course I’ll welcome questions and suggestions of all kinds! I’m reachable via email@example.com. Or speak up in the comments section.
Note: The cover is from the forthcoming audiobook edition. I’m using it because it looks better as reproduced on the TeleRead home page. But the print and ebook covers are similar.