Hallie’s Cache is the working title of my “cli fi” science fiction novel, set in the year 2074. The novel’s main action takes place in what we now call the northeastern United States, Massachusetts and New York. In 2074 the country has federalized into regions, and Massachusetts belongs to the New England Federation, while New York belongs to the Midlantic Federation, also known as Midlantica. Hallie, the main character, is an adolescent girl, the daughter of refugees, who plays the violin/fiddle.
I chose the exact date, and Hallie’s name, based on the predicted return of Halley’s Comet in 2061. Hallie was born under Halley’s comet, and is named for it. She is 12 years old when the novel opens.
The first inklings of an idea for this novel date to before 2012, but I wrote the first full-ish draft during that year’s NaNoWriMo. I didn’t originally start out thinking that it would be climate fiction, either, but as an author setting a novel in the mid-range future, I discovered I couldn’t avoid the topic.
In October of 2012, just before that NaNo started, I was sick in bed with bronchitis. I had retired from my project manager job in the summer and had not yet started teaching, which turned out to be a very good thing since I don’t think there was any way I could have handled starting a challenging teaching job (are there any other kind?) while I was that sick.
I used the time in bed to look at book covers and to think about and try my hand at cover design, which is how the cover up there in the corner came to be. I thought about how comets and stars have been seen as omens throughout the ages. I also remembered how one night in the 1990s I unexpectedly saw the space station fly overhead. (It was fortunate I was with an astronomer at the time or I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at.) I had already cast Hallie’s father Daniel as an aerospace engineer, and I had planned that his life’s work was going to be building a space station.
I thought about the image of the comet and Hallie’s birth, and the end of the novel came to me as a parallel image of Daniel’s space station passing overhead. Although I don’t expect this to be the real cover when/if the novel is published, thinking about it this way gave me an idea of a way forward, and a vision of the ending. It was my own guiding star as an author.
This year I plan to concentrate on finishing Hallie’s Cache and getting it into publishable shape.