A Carrickfergus author is launching her debut novel after securing a three book deal with an independent publisher.
Jo Zebedee’s science fiction ‘space opera’ Abendau’s Heir, the first instalment in The Inheritance Trilogy, will have its official launch this weekend.
The book is being released by Northumberland-based publisher Tickety Boo Press, which specialises in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.
A past pupil of Victoria Primary School and Carrickfergus Grammar, Jo began writing creatively in her teens, later gaining a degree in English Literature.
“I didn’t give the writing a serious go though until the summer before I turned 40; at that stage my two children were that little bit older and I had more time on my hands,” said Jo, from the Eden area of the town.
Currently a management consultant and trainer, the 43-year-old honed her craft via an online writing group who helped critique her work.
It was through the online community that she got in touch with Gary Compton of Tickety Boo Press.
Abendau’s Heir follows the story of Kare, who is caught between his cruel mother, the Empress, and his father, who wants to lead a rebellion against her.
“A lot of books within the sci-fi genres have this idea of a person being ‘chosen’,” said Jo. “What I wanted to look at in Adendau’s Heir was how that impacts on a character and the price they would have to pay. The world it takes place in is important, but that probably features more in the second book.”
The novel’s release is timely as an increasing number of female sci-fi authors begin to break into the market, said Jo.
“People are often surprised when I say I write sci-fi; in terms of readership it’s fairly evenly split, but sci-fi writing as a genre is seen as more of a male preserve,” she added.
“The sci-fi community have been very accepting and supportive however; I suppose a female writer gives a different perspective to it.
“I really like Lois McMaster Bujold; her Vorkosigan books would be in a similar mold to Abendau. Dune would be a big [influence], and Heinlein’s Space Operas.
“Also in science fiction, I like Clarke and more recently, really enjoyed Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden.”
Jo will be taking part in World Book Night on April 23, when she will read an extract from the novel at Waterstones in Belfast. “I’ll also be going to Comic Con at the Kings Hall with Eason’s at the start of May,” she added.