Labor and Delivery

Question: In what favorite human activity does the fun part take far less time than the hard part?

Answer: Well, that too, but today at File 770 the official answer is – writing a science fiction novel!

After David Levine joyfully told his readers that he’s sold his “Regency Interplanetary Airship Adventure” novel Arabella of Mars to Tor in a three-book deal, he soberly explained how much more work remains in front of him.

Getting to this point has been a real emotional rollercoaster, with many years of hard work, long waits, and near misses. Arabella of Mars, my first sale, is my fourth completed novel; I started outlining the first one at the beginning of 2003, so this moment is the culmination of more than ten years of effort. And yet, of course, this is also only the beginning of an equally long strange journey to publication and beyond. I have a lot to do in the next year, including soliciting blurbs, writing blog posts, assembling a street team, and scheduling readings and interviews, as well as shepherding the book through production, not to mention writing book 2 (which currently exists as a solid outline and 4000 words of text).

He describes Arabella Ashby as “a Patrick O’Brian girl in a Jane Austen world” – a tale bound to appeal to fans of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories.

Born and raised on Mars, she was hauled back home by her mother, where she’s stifled by England’s gravity, climate, and attitudes toward women. When she learns that her evil cousin plans to kill her brother and inherit the family fortune, she joins the crew of an interplanetary clipper ship in order to beat him to Mars. But privateers, mutiny, and insurrection stand in her way. Will she arrive in time?

Levine has already written two stories in the same universe, “The Wreck of the Mars Adventure,” a novelette in George R. R. Martin’s and Gardner Dozois’ anthology Old Mars and the novelette, “The End of the Silk Road” for F&SF.

Tor is expected to issue the first volume of Arabella in late 2015 or early 2016, with two sequels following at yearly intervals.