By Jenny Quill
First time’s the charm for Lake Forest resident Derek Sherman, whose debut novel “Race Across the Sky” will be published by Penguin this July.
Prior to “Race Across the Sky,” Sherman, who works full-time as an advertising writer/creative director, had never so much as published a short story, let alone a novel. And unlike the vast majority of published authors these days, Sherman didn’t have an established following, Twitter or otherwise, nor a long history of book-manuscript rejections. He simply had a story, one that he wrote in 30- to 40-minute snippets over the course of seven years while riding the Metra quiet cars (the book is partially dedicated to those quiet cars) home from the city.
“I wrote this book on the train and sent it to [my publisher],” said Sherman. “And it worked out. These things can happen.”
Without giving too much away, “Race Across the Sky” is the story of two estranged brothers, Caleb Oberest, an ultramarathon runner who lives with a cult-like running group outside Boulder, CO, and Shane Oberest, a sales rep for a biotechnology firm based in San Francisco. The brothers, who have not seen each other in years, are brought together by the birth of a child.
“There’s an element of surprise,” said Sherman. “It’s about family and these two worlds and how far do we go for love. Each brother does something for the other that’s pretty intense. It asks who is it in your life would you do that for?”
Prior to submitting to his publisher, Sherman asked two local book clubs to review his manuscript, including one of which his wife, Kerri Sherman, owner of Bloom & Focus in Lake Forest, is a member. “I tried to send [the manuscript] to book clubs where I could get honest feedback,” said Sherman.
“Race Across the Sky” has already received some critical support, having been selected by the American Library Association (ALA) as an EarlyWord Debut Novel for 2013. The book has also been chosen for First Flights, a Penguin program that highlights one new book every month.
Sherman will be discussing his book at the ALA Conference on June 30 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Penguin booth. Locally, you can meet Sherman and learn more about the book at an author event hosted by Lake Forest Book Store on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.
In the meantime, pre-orders are currently available at Lake Forest Book Store.
For more information about “Race Across the Sky,” visit http://www.raceacrosstheskynovel.com/.