Every story has a genesis. Something that sparks the imagination and begins the what-if process. For Space Cowboys & Indians that spark was an NPR (National Public Radio) story I listened to in my car one morning as I was driving for my day job.
You can read the story here: When Science Beats Fiction courtesy of NPR
The gist of it is that after 10 years and 4 billion miles, a probe called Rosetta was about to harpoon a comet, and then place Philae (an exploratory lander) onto that comet. What? What? What?
Space?! Comets?! HARPOONS?!
What is this? The Wild West?
I was hooked. Of course, the writerly wheels began to spin, and I sped down the Google rabbit hole. I followed the Rosetta lander and the exploration of comet 67P. You can too. There are several stories here at NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/search/index.php?searchinput=rosetta
You can Google Rosetta or Philae or Comet 67P and find more than you could dream of. The Rosetta Probe even has a Twitter account. https://twitter.com/ESA_Rosetta
— ESA Rosetta Mission (@ESA_Rosetta) June 3, 2015
I incorporated a few of the real-life details into Space Cowboys & Indians, then tweaked them to my liking. Instead of a comet, my astronaut explorers are commissioned by a space profiteer intent on mining an asteroid called Amun, reportedly rich in precious metals and other resources. The first to reach the asteroid and mine its resources is sure to enjoy a financial boon that’s never been seen before opening the last frontier up the prospecting of near-Earth asteroids far surpassing to the California gold rush.
Space Cowboys & Indians lands July 15.
Mining Engineer Cole Hudson signed up for NASA astronaut training, but after washing out short of getting his gold wings, he retreats to Alaska where he stakes out a gold claim. When billionaire entrepreneur Duncan Janson offers him an opportunity to join a mining team on an asteroid, Cole jumps at the chance.
But nothing is as it seems. Former NASA reject and rival classmate, Tessa Hernandez, is also a member of the team, and from the beginning of the mission test flight, things go wrong. They soon discover they’re not the only ones on the asteroid. As they try to escape, they are pulled through a wormhole and back to the early 1800s New Mexico desert where aliens and Apaches may be the least of their problems.