About the Author

About the Author

Gravity has been kind to me – I have few wrinkles. Gravity has also been kind to a special few, destined to fly. Pale was not one of those. With the name Pale Sudds, she could hardly expect to be destined for something special. I first discovered Pale when Judy, a colleague in our office watched the men walk past her and the other women of a similar age, as if they did not exist, their eyes, and everything else, focused on the attractive younger woman seated at her desk. “You reach an age,” Judy said, “when you become invisible.” Pale was always that age. With men and with women.

Yet there was something special about Pale, she could have been anybody, male or female, who at some time in their life has been ignored, over-looked and sad. But she was Pale, stirred with a resilience she did not know she processed. And like so many she had a choice. Yet like so many, she had no choice, because she did not believe the choice was hers.

The universe of science fiction clarified that choice, it was stark and it was unbearable. Choose to act or choose not to act, both have consequences, both are Pale’s choice. Each with different ends. One of them will determine the fate of loved ones and friends. Our life on Earth rests on Pale’s choice.

A great thing about science fiction is it can take ordinary events, going to work, going to the shops, going out and cast it an unexpected light, unhinging our expectations, perspectives, choices. In our ordinary, wonderful lives, we are the Pale Sudds, with the power to change our world – to change our life, our expectations – or not.

I have always enjoyed the way science fiction mixes the ordinary with the unexpected. From the stories of ordinary days of a bygone era turned special in War of the Worlds and Day of the Triffids, to the futuristic worlds of Asimov and Orson Scott Card back to the ordinary lives in varied settings of Philip K Dick, on to the fantasy of Tolkien, J. K. Rowling and George RR Martin. Books, TV and film. In Yellow Earth, one day people wake and the air is no longer transparent and clear, a yellow mist seeps across the ground, rising, transforming the air we now see, the lives we live. One change, everything changes.

In another life, another time, I worked for one of the largest local governments in England, writing strategies and reports for Social Care and Health. Many of which required the same talents as writing a novel, imagination, a touch of credibility and a wondrous suspension of disbelief. Although I researched, developed and wrote the strategies, they rarely bore my name, I was the writing hand of a senior manager. If you ever wonder how some people seem to do so much, they probably have many hands. I preferred the anonymity. It allowed me the freedom to write in different styles, not focused on how I was presented but how the strategy, senior manager and organisation were presented, how they engaged with the public and how they made the case for change. In writing Yellow Earth, I wanted to capture that freedom of thinking and development, to create a novel as Chris Before. So Chris Before is the author, the name, the focus and I am content to remain, as I am, in the background.

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