NDSU Lecturer Pens Science-Fiction Series
Published: Monday, January 27, 2014
Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 14:01
Finding one’s passion in life is always important, no matter how long it takes or what it is. For David Englund, a lecturer in the Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department, tapping into his passion came 20 years after an idea that would later spark it.
With many people stuck in the ruts of the daily grind, feeling buried by all that must be done in a day, Englund’s idea was never initially meant for a story—rather, it was a pleasant thought about a pleasant place.
“I had this idea. I wish there was a dimension where you could go to this room and no time passes on earth, and you basically pick up an extra three hours,” Englund said, “and you can take naps, you can get work done, and then you come back.”
One day, a conversation with a student took Englund’s notion to another level. What was this other dimension? Are there aliens there? Other worlds? What is this other dimension? This inquisitive student sparked Englund’s creative interest and set him on track to writing “Upsetting the Tides,” the first novel in his Clark Jackson series.
Putting an average, 40-something year old accountant in the dimension of Englund’s design, his first book set the stage and tone for the novels that would succeed it in the series. Armed with a phone device that yields superhuman powers, Clark Jackson uncovers a new ability in each story while evading aliens, shapeshifters and a government agency on his tail.
To follow up on the first story, Englund lived the life of an author for a year and wrote the series’ second and third installments. During this time, Englund made a writing pact so he would not waver from his writing: Every day, he would write at least two pages.
“A lot of days I wrote six or eight pages, but no matter how many pages I wrote one day, when I got up the next day, I had to write two more pages,” he said.
Englund’s year off resulted in “Unseasonal War” and “Camouflaged Encounters,” the former of which was just released last September. Utilizing Amazon.com to sell his books, Englund’s stories were originally available in ebook format for $2.99, though now he has branched out to physical format. Amazon.com, however, is the only dealer where his books are available.
“I have not put it on Barnes & Noble’s and other things because I kind of like having them all come together in one place,” he said. “What I like about pooling them all in one place [is that] you get the rankings.”
Categorized under “First Contact” in the science fiction ebooks on Amazon.com, Englund learned that one of his novels was ranked 17th out of the top 100. On a larger level, of all the ebooks on Amazon.com, he leveled off at 181,121 out of millions. Not groundbreaking, he admits, but a sure-fire way for people to notice his novels.
Having already sold several hundred digital copies of “Upsetting the Tides” and “Unseasonal War,” Englund knows that his stories have reached around the world, as his sales have indicated buyers in Norway, Britain, France and Canada. He has promoted his series through Valley Con, handed out his cards and met with a few leaders of books clubs and geek groups.
What his stories come down to, however, is not making enough to pay the rent or write the next great American novel. His writing is truly a passion, and creating a character and setting that readers want to return to with each successive story is all he has in mind. Having never been an English major or writer before his stories’ inspiration, Englund attributes his passion in part to something simple.
“I’ve always loved reading, my whole life,” Englund said. “I heard an author once say that if you don’t love reading, you won’t be an author. And I think that’s right.”
David Englund’s Clark Jackson novels are available from Amazon.com in digital format for $2.99 and physical format for $9.99.