Ideas for stories usually come to me in bits and pieces, as I’m daydreaming or taking a walk. But not the idea for my novel The Sailweaver’s Son. This story came to me all at once and totally unexpectedly.
The Sailweaver’s Son started with a dream. I dreamt that my son Noah and I were writing a story together. We were taking turns at writing it, and the writing wasn’t going well. We were struggling. The story wasn’t coming together. (I think this may have partly been an anxiety dream about my relationship with my son J ). Anyway, when I woke up I couldn’t remember the story we had tried to write, but one vivid image stayed in my head—three kids steering a sailboat through the sky.
The image persisted, and lying there in bed I started to think about the kind of fantasy world in which you could sail a boat through the sky. Soon, the world of Etherium came to me, and then the story. It was as if it downloaded itself into my head that night. Not all the details but the broad strokes—the characters, the creatures, the main plot points, key scenes. I never had an experience like that before.
A short time later, I sat down and wrote the first scene. It came out well, and the book progressed from there. The first draft came easy—it was as if the story wanted to be written. Of course the first draft was rough. I spent a lot of time revising, crafting, polishing. The book took about two and a half years to write.
My son Noah was 10 when I started writing The Sailweaver’s Son. He’s now 14 and just started his freshman year of high school. I recently had the pleasure of giving Noah a copy of the finished book. It is dedicated to him.
About The Sailweaver’s Son
The Sailweaver’s Son
by Jeff Minerd
Publisher: Silver Leaf Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Genre: MG/YA Fantasy
The Sailweaver’s Son combines traditional fantasy with a dash of steampunk and takes young readers to a unique world—Etherium. A world where mountains rise like islands above a sea of clouds and adventurers travel the sky in sail-driven airships.
When fifteen year-old Tak rescues the survivor of an airship destroyed by one of the giant flammable gas bubbles mysteriously appearing in the sky of Etherium, the authorities react like a flock of startled grekks.
Admiral Scud accuses Tak of sabotage and treason. Tak’s father grounds him for reckless airmanship. Rumors spread that the bubbles are weapons devised by the Gublins, a race of loathsome but ingenious underground creatures. The King’s advisors call for war, hoping to win much-needed Gublin coal.
To clear his name, solve the mystery, and prevent a misguided war, Tak must do what anyone knows is suicide—visit the Gublins and find out what they’re up to. When the wizard’s adopted daughter, an oddly beautiful and irksomely intelligent girl from the Eastern kingdoms, asks Tak to help her do just that, he can’t say no.
The adventure will take Tak from the deepest underground caves to a desperate battle on Etherium’s highest mountaintop. It will force him to face his worst fears, and to grow up faster than he expected.
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About the Author
Jeff Minerd thought he stopped writing fiction a long time ago until the story for The Sailweaver’s Son came to him not in a dream but after a dream. He is grateful for that, and for the opportunity to explore the world of Etherium and entertain others with what he finds there.
Jeff has a son, Noah, who is also a writer and avid reader. Jeff hopes to one day place in the top ten—or maybe even top five—of Noah’s favorite authors. But the competition is pretty stiff.
In a previous lifetime, Jeff published short fiction in literary journals including The North American Review. One of his stories won the F. Scott Fitzgerald competition, judged by former NPR book reviewer Alan Cheuse.
More recently, Jeff has worked as a science and medical writer for publications and organizations including the National Institutes of Health, MedPage Today, The Futurist magazine, and the Scientist magazine.
Jeff lives in Rochester, NY.