British Columbia-based author Mark Lloyd is quietly celebrating a huge win after his book nabbed top prize in the science fiction category at the IndieReader Discovery Awards.
The humble author was looking for feedback and submitted the book on a whim. “I was surprised. I didn’t expect the story would win anything,” he said.
The award winners were announced in May at the New York International Book Expo. IndieReader gave the book 4.8/5 stars rating A Place to Stay Forever “an imaginative and quirky story that simultaneously hearkens back to both Philip K Dick and Douglas Adams.”
A straightforward, absorbing tale that unfolds inside a beefy futuristic setting. – Kirkus Reviews
The concept of Lloyd’s sci-fi novel is a mix of the Matrix and Black Mirror’s San Junipero episode. The protagonist, Miranda Sage, is plugged into an artificial reality where she is living out her life peacefully as an old man, when a power surge abruptly awakens the crew in a spaceship hurtling back to Earth. The crew has to hack back into the alternate reality through its only access point – the town of Penticton – and awaken consciously to explore a way to end the simulation without harming their bodies.
“I wanted to write a story that makes the readers think about something they haven’t put much thought in before. This book is about immortality, and the perils of being immortal,” said Lloyd.
Despite the virtual reality/alternate universe premise – the story’s locale is very real. Lloyd who grew up and lives in the Okanagan town of Penticton, loved the idea of turning his hometown into the setting of a sci-fi tale.
“If locals read it, they’ll get a kick out of it. There are several noticeable landmarks such as Munsen Mountain, local beaches, lakes and I even reference certain neighbourhoods and street,” he said.
Lloyd is an avid reader, taking inspiration and lessons on how to write from classic authors such as Ernest Hemmingway. He works in a sales role during the day, and dedicates the rest of his free time writing and editing. He says he’s driven by the love of writing and storytelling; sales are a bonus.
“Your writing needs to come first with a desire to always get better at this craft. It’s great seeing people buy your book, but I entered the publishing world not expecting any sales. If any new author believes they will get rich off this type of venture, they need to lower their expectations,” said the Tellwell author.
His advice to new authors is to ask themselves why they are writing this story, and what they hope to get out of it.
“Whatever your answer you need to be ready to expect nothing and continue to relentlessly put pen to paper, realizing that the only reward, in the end, may be the art of creating a narrative and completing your story.”
Lloyd’s dedicated writing routine is paying off, completing five books in three years. His goal is to write and publish one story a year for ten years. So far, he’s ahead of the game.
“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I love telling stories, creating twists and turns. You are high jacking a person’s mind. That’s a lot of trust a reader is giving you,” he said.
And readers are raving about his book, with a many five-star reviews pouring in on Amazon, Goodreads and Readers’ Favorite.
This book will make you think about mortality and what lies in wait for humanity in the future. If you love a novel that takes you on a thought-provoking journey, then I would highly recommend you read this book.”
– Reviewed By Lesley Jones for Readers’ Favorite
A Place to Stay Forever is unlike any science fiction book I have read before. The premise is intriguing and author Mark L Lloyd keeps the reader continually thinking and wondering about the science and the adventure these characters are on.
– Grant Leishman, Amazon Reviewer
Despite his rave reviews, his friends and family are just learning about his author adventures. Lloyd says he wanted an unbiased opinion of his writing first, before sharing it with family and friends.
With one prestigious writing award under his name, and three more book projects currently in the works, this will likely be just one of many accolades to celebrate.
Buy the book on Amazon
Visit Mark Lloyd’s website
Read the full IndieReader review