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.

What is Shade of the Morning Sun about?

My themes and topics are love and loss, families and special needs, hope and dreams, and endless road trips. 

Where can I read Shade of the Morning Sun?

You can find all my stories here on

Some of the stories are published first on (more on that below).

Who is behind Shade of the Morning Sun?

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

You can follow me on my official writer Facebook page.

How do I read Shade of the Morning Sun?

You can choose the stories that most interest you, and read them in any chronological 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

And most of Stephen King’s non-horror books. 🙂

I’m not sure how ‘similar’ the stories are but Strout and Dubus are the authors I look up to when it comes to choosing themes and settings, and King is generally just damn good at writing compelling characters.

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 have these stories been 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 continually.

Are there books collecting the stories?

I plan to publish my first collection (in print) in 2024 with the best stories. Keep up to dated on that by liking and following my Facebook page.

What is the difference between this site and

Depending on the Morning Sun is Shade of the Morning Sun’s companion site.

It is a site that only publishes stories about Carrie and Jon’s years in Yuma with the kids (circa 2015 and onward). I also comment exclusively on each story’s creation in the blog comments under each story.

New stories are published weekly, give or take a few days.

You can follow the site via the follow system if you are a member.

New stories for the blog are archived on Shade of the Morning Sun and publicized on Shade of the Morning Sun’s Facebook page, so if you follow that page you will also be notified of these stories.

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


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.

Why did you start creating 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.

As mentioned above, the best stories will be published in stand-alone anthology collections that will be out from 2024 and onward in print only. 

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

I’ve taken the title from part of 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 the official Shade of the Morning Sun Facebook page and keep updated on new stories.

How often will there be new stories?

New stories come out weekly from the summer of 2023 and onward. Sometimes I may update and republish older stories, though, if real life gets too busy.

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 use Eleven Labs’ catalogue of AI-reading voices to create the audio, as I am not a native English speaker and my recording conditions at my home are less than optimal. I then edit it a little in the program Audacity, but that’s about it.

I will create more audio versions in the near future 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 / or

Follow my writer Facebook page to be informed when a new audio story is out, or follow the Shade of the Morning Sun Facebook page.


Last updated 8 Oct 2023