Under the pen name Lukas Holmes, a local writer has penned and published his first book. A book that takes readers from late Victorian London to the vast firmament of space.
“This World Or The Next” is the first in a series of four adventure novels about the “perilous journeys of Wilona Bumbridge.”
“Victorian era kids in space. Ha, that would sell me,” Holmes said. “But no. More than that, it’s a story of children without hope, on Earth and the beyond. In our hearts we can relate to that, no matter our age.”
His book comes back up swinging though, Holmes said.
“I wanted (all kids) going through that really rough age to know that no matter how bad it is, you have this deep strength and courage that no one else in all of creation has. You are strong and amazing, and you can win. No matter what is put in front of you, you can beat it. I think that’s a message as adults we need to remember too.”
His inspiration came when he was working at a college in Denver. He was sitting in a meeting when someone brought up the topic of satellite schools.
“I zoned out completely and started drawing little pictures of schools in space,” Holmes said. “The story has come a long way since then. But the idea, that fundamental idea stuck with me.”
Holmes has been working on “This World Or The Next” and the idea for the whole series for about five years.
Starting out was just one hurdle. For him the writing advice “revise, revise, revise” proved too true. He wrote the first book three times in three different ways. They were complete rewrites after a few rejections.
“The third way is what I ended up going with, what made everything fall into place,” he said. “I sat down with these giant posters and drew out every plot point, every character’s story on each poster and tied them together.”
It was then that he realized in order to make the story work and to tell the story he wanted to tell about Wilona Bumbridge, it needed to be a series. The main character, Wilona, is a homeless 13-year-old girl on the streets of late Victorian London.
“She is a combination of the women in my life,” Holmes said. “My father passed away before I was born, so I was raised by my mother and my sister. I’m married with two daughters, and so I looked at all of the incredible women in my life and based a character off of that.”
Wilona is a strong young lady with determination, Holmes said. Even before the story starts the reader finds out about horrible things she has faced before getting thrust into an unbelievable world.
Online, “This World Or The Next” is described as a 80,000 word, upper middle grade novel.
One reader, Jennifer Eng, who posted on Amazon said, “This book started as just something to kill a little time, and turned into a very late night. I couldn’t put it down. The story started a bit slow but picked up steam quickly. The storyline was well thought out and characters developed fully. The author leaves just enough questions unanswered to keep the reader engaged while not introducing so many twists as to be annoying or feel forced. I am truly looking forward to the next book in the series.”
Another reader’s review said, “I can’t wait for my kids to read it and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.”
According to Holmes, he is waiting to read his first negative review so he can print and frame it.
As a writer, Holmes said he always works with music on – usually movie scores.
“I go into each chapter with a prompt, such as ‘Someone is in the dark.’ And then I look at my notes to see what I need to have happen in that chapter,” Holmes said. “In the end though, you can throw all that out of the window because the characters will tell you where they want to go and the story will take itself where it needs to be.”
As a reader, Holmes was appropriately dedicated to all things Sherlock Holmes. From there he progressed to a love of mystery, science fiction, horror ad humor, among other genres.
Holmes’ wife is also a writer, known in the Brighton area as Ashley March. She writes romance novels.
Holmes is happy to see his first book published.
“It feels wonderful,” he said. “It was a great process. The book was finished over a year ago, so it was a bit stressful waiting to see if it would ever come out.”
His favorite part of the process was working with local Colorado artist Robert Elrod, who created the cover art and design.
Minerva House, the publisher of “This World Or The Next,” is a small independent publisher in Colorado that took a chance on Holmes.
“This World Or The Next” is out in hardcopy from Amazon.com, and in e-format for the Kindle or Nook.
The first draft of the second book in the series is currently with editors and will likely be released in June. Holmes hopes to finish the entire series this year. He hopes that local Brighton bookstores will order his book as part of their local collections.
Contact Emily Dougherty at 303-659-2522 ext. 223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.