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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on August 3rd, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 23, Issue 23

Local sci-fi author H.W. Portland explores the final frontier in first novel, 'Explorer's End'

By CALEB WISEBLOOD

Trekkies and wookie worshipers are among the target audience of Orcutt local H.W. Portland’s debut sci-fi novel, Explorer’s End.


GALAXY QUEST
The plot of Explorer’s End, by Orcutt author H.W. Portland, follows an unlikely hero on a quest to discover the origin of the galaxy. The book’s cover art was created by artist Elias Stern.
IMAGE COURTESY OF H.W. PORTLAND

“I tell people, if you enjoy Indiana Jones, Star Trek, or Star Wars, you will enjoy Explorer’s End,” Portland said, before describing his film-friendly writing style.

“I write as if I am a film director using description and dialogue to direct the reader’s attention in the same way a camera is used in film,” the author explained. “I felt a special sense of pride when, without solicitation, my early readers told me the book felt very cinematic and that it reminded them of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.”

Galaxy-wide web
Find out more about H.W. Portland and his debut novel, Explorer’s End, on hwportland.com. The book is available to purchase, as a paperback or ebook, through Amazon.

The plot of Explorer’s End follows an unlikely hero on a quest to discover the origin of the galaxy, “and protect it at all costs,” according to the book’s synopsis. The novel was released, in both paperback and ebook editions, during the summer and is currently available to order through Amazon. 

During a recent email interview, Portland gave the Sun some behind-the-scenes tidbits about his journey writing the book.

Sun: How would you describe a typical day in the life for you while writing Explorer’s End? And about how long did it take you to complete the novel?


A NEW CHAPTER
“When COVID came along, I made a personal vow that I would emerge from that disaster with something tangible to show,” said Explorer’s End author H.W. Portland, who has enjoyed writing since childhood. “Settling down and getting back to an old passion from my youth, creative writing, felt like a great way to ride through COVID.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF H.W. PORTLAND

Portland: Once I had a detailed outline, it was very simple to write the novel. Every evening at about 10 p.m., I would turn down the lights, put on a candle, brew coffee, and spend two to three hours writing. I found that writing a chapter a night resulted in chapters that were just the right length for a casual reader. After about 30 days, I had a first draft, which I sat on for almost a year. I came back and read the draft with fresh eyes and it was something I was happy with.  

Sun: Has writing always been a passion of yours? I read on your website that you’ve spent the past 20 years working in technology. I’m curious if you enjoyed writing as a hobby throughout your career or if writing is a more recent endeavor?

Portland: I have been writing stories since first grade. In my teens, my creative focus turned towards making video games and writing software. By the time I was in my late twenties, I had stopped writing creatively and was putting all my time into my career. As my career moved along, I wrote less software and wrote more documents and presentations. Soon I was studying leaders in our organization and how they used narrative structure to communicate vision. When COVID came along, I made a personal vow that I would emerge from that disaster with something tangible to show. Settling down and getting back to an old passion from my youth, creative writing, felt like a great way to ride through COVID. Now that we have emerged, I am proud that I do, in fact, have something to show for that period of time. 


INKLINGS IN INK
Each chapter of Explorer’s End features a unique illustration by artist Raven Osse. This artwork depicts a creature from the planet of Helios, one of the book’s settings.
COURTESY IMAGE BY RAVEN OSSE

Sun: Is there a specific reason you decided to write a sci-fi novel? What attracted you to the genre versus other genres?

Portland: [Originally] I was working on a historical fiction and realized I was depleting all my energy on research and getting everything to plausibly mesh with a specific period and place. The narrative was taking back seat to historical accuracy, and I was spending months filling a research journal instead of a first draft. Science fiction, on the other hand, gives me much more room to build an interesting premise and narrative. As a writer, I establish the rules with the reader, the limits of the world, and as long as I can stay within those boundaries I myself have defined, I can sculpt an interesting story.

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood is a sculptor of articles. Send comments to cwiseblood@santamariasun.com.










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