Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

Below you can find some of the frequently asked questions and their answers – about the Shade of the Morning Sun project and its creator, Christopher Marcus.

Table of Contents

What is Shade of the Morning Sun?

Shade of the Morning Sun is a collection of linked short stories chronicling the lives of a Scottish-American family over three generations from 1968-2068.

It’s about love and loss, families and special needs, hope and dreams, and endless road trips. 

Where can I read Shade of the Morning Sun?

New stories are published first on dependingonthemorningsun.com (more on that below).

All stories are archived here on shadeofthemorningsun.com.

Who is creating Shade of the Morning Sun?

The stories are written by Christopher Marcus, who also maintains the websites.

How do I read Shade of the Morning Sun?

In this archive you can choose the stories that most interest you, and read them in any order you like. 

Go to the Characters & Stories Page and pick a character to read about!

Alternatively, you can

– choose a novel-in-stories 

– choose a featured story from the home page 

– choose one of the latest stories

– read everything chronologically 

Do I have to read all the stories?

No, each story can be read as a stand-alone story. 

Is Shade of the Morning Sun like an online novel or short story collection?

It is neither.

Shade of the Morning Sun is a (constantly growing) collection of linked short stories, also known as a novel in stories or short story cycle. This form is also sometimes called a composite novel, or interrelated short stories.

Linked short stories can be read independently of each other, but when read together it affects your experience of each of the individual stories.

Linked short story collections you may be familiar with include Sherman Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad.

What kind of books are like Shade of the Morning Sun?

I’m very inspired by Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge books, which are incidentally also linked short story collections.

Also, I’m inspired by Andre Dubus III’s Garden of Last Days and House of Sand and Fog, Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky, and Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption, just to name a few.

So there is no big plot?

No. But there are some events and associated themes that come up again and again, like  Carrie’s recovery from addiction and abuse. Or Jonathan’s PTSD from the Iraq war. 

As the collection grows, obviously there will be novels-in-stories that resemble novels, such as Carrie’s sojourn to South America 2000-1, but it is by no means a given.

Why are these stories published on a website?

Because the vision for Shade of the Morning Sun is that it is a story that is constantly growing – it is never finished. Pieces of the character’s past, present, and even stories set in the future are all being added all the time. This means that the ‘big story’ continually deepens, with new layer being revealed for each individual story.

Are there books collecting the stories?

There are ebooks collecting stories into small novella-length sequences of about 20K words. See a list here.

Email me at chris AT shadeofthemorningsun DOT com if you would like free review copies.

What is the difference between this site and dependingonthemorningsun.com?

Depending on the Morning Sun is  a site that focuses on stories about Carrie and Jon’s years in Yuma with their children, Emma and Michael (circa 2015 and onward). 

On Dependingonthemorningsun.com I publish new stories first and comment exclusively on each story’s creation on each story. 

All stories are archived chronologically on Shade of the Morning Sun.

Do the names under each title refer to the main characters in the story?

Usually.

I have also included chapters and stories where characters play a prominent role even if they don’t have the main spotlight.

What is the relationship between photos, musical inspiration, and stories?

The stories are the heart of the project. Photos and musical inspiration might enhance the experience of individual stories. Your mileage may vary.

What does it mean that stories are ‘updated’?

It means that from time to time I edit stories and clarify language or add new paragraphs or make similar changes. The date denotes the most recent version.

Why is the layout different in some stories?

Beginning in the fall of 2023 I am going to layout all of my stories in a more reader-friendly way, especially for mobile. This means more images and bold sentences. There will probably be even more changes on that. 

When I settle on a format that works, the rest of the stories will gradually be updated to reflect that – on both sites. But depending on my resources you may for some time find both text-only layouts and layouts with, say, more images on both my sites.

Why did you create Shade of the Morning Sun?

I started writing a traditional novel 20 years ago with some of the characters but was not able to finish it, being occupied with education, work, and a period of serious illness. 

It soured on me around 2009 but I wanted to do something with the story ideas and characters, so I started writing short stories. I was impatient and just put them out on the internet and it sort of took on a life of its own since.

What is behind the name: ‘Shade of the Morning Sun’?

I’ve borrowed the title from the lyrics of New Order’s 1987-song “True Faith”:

I used to think that the day would never come
I’d see delight in the shade of the morning sun

The song is about drug use, but I also see it as a song about wanting to escape from life and searching for “delight” – (or “the light” as it is sometimes misread) – even if that “delight” is not always what it seems.

It’s also a very concrete reference to Carrie’s lost years when she was a drug user herself. These years will be chronicled later, but for now you can read about her recovery in the novel-in-stories “Their Promised Land”.

How will I know when new stories come out?

You can follow Dependingonthemorningsun.com via the WordPress.com follow system if you are a member. 

You may also follow the site via RSS feed in an RSS Reader.  The feed URL is dependingonthemorningsun.com/feed/

How often will there be new stories?

New stories come out weekly.

Why are there different people posing for the same character photo?

Originally because I could only afford to use royalty-free photos from Unsplash and Pixabay and similar sites, but as time has gone by I feel that it is rather fitting. Even though the same cast populates the stories, I like to think that many of their experiences are universal.

Where do the audio versions of the stories come from?

I have used Eleven Labs’ catalogue of AI-reading voices to create the audio for one story, but I will probably create future audio books reading them myself, if I can make them a good enough quality, and as time and money permit.

Feel free to share the audio files, as long as you don’t change them, sell them and remember to attribute them to me and dependingonthemorningsun.com.

Last updated 27 Jan 2024