The Mars Run by Chris Gerrib

5 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, February 3, 2017!

When eighteen-year-old Janet Pilgrim’s boyfriend was killed in a training accident at the space academy, she thought she was going to be thrown out. Instead, she soon found herself shipping out as a junior astronaut on the forty-year old spacecraft Windy City bound for Mars.

But freighters and passenger ships aren’t the only craft plying the spaceways. When the Windy City is attacked by pirates on the way to Mars, Janet finds herself in more danger than she could ever have imagined.

Exclusive interview with the author:

1) If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

It’s become unfashionable in science fiction to say this, but I really like Westerns. Not so much the saddle up the horse part, but the part where you take ordinary people and drop them miles from help, then hand them an extraordinary problem. That’s where you find out what characters are really like. So my Oprah theme would be just that – ordinary people handling extraordinary problems.

2) When you start a new book, do you like to outline the entire story or fly by the seat of your pants? What about your characters? Do you figure them out entirely before you start writing or do they reveal themselves to you along the way?

This novel started out with a fairly detailed outline. After four or so drafts, that outline went out the window! Outlines are helpful, but one has to tell the story, and the story will go where it will, outline or not.

Characters definitely reveal themselves to me. For this book, I started with a character summary that I used internally. Here’s the entire entry in that outline for a main character: “Rachel, a pirate.” Let’s just say she grew on me!

3) What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of and why?

There’s a funny bit of business in which an Earthling wonders why Martians are using sheep instead of lawnmowers to cut grass in a pressure dome. She’s told:

“We’re a million miles from the nearest lawnmower factory.”
“Lawnmowers don’t make other lawnmowers.”
“You can’t eat a lawnmower.”

Besides being humorous, I think it makes clear the mindset of anybody who in the foreseeable future would colonize another planet.

4) Got any great memories of growing up you’d like to share?

I grew up in a town of 3,000 people. Our small-town library was about a mile away, and pretty much every day in summer I’d pedal down there to read everything they had on space.

5) What kind of research did you have to do to bring this story to life on the page?

Surprisingly little! Because of my fascination with space, I’d internalized a lot of the knowledge I needed. I did find the books of Mars colonization advocate Robert Zubrin helpful with some of the spaceship and Mars details.

About the author:

Chris Gerrib admits to being a bit obsessed with Mars, but in a healthy way – all three books of his Pirate Series are set on Mars. Chris still has a day job as the IT director at a Chicago-area bank, and holds degrees in history and business from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University. He also served in the US Navy during the First Gulf War, and can proudly report that not one Iraqi MiG bombed Jacksonville, Florida while he was in the service. In his copious free time, Chris is a past President of and currently active in his local Rotary club. Visit Chris online at

Giveaway info:

Title: The Mars Run
Author: Chris Gerrib
Publisher: Cincinnatus Press
Author website:

5 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, February 3, 2017.

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