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 an online literary project combining linked short stories, art, photos, and music in order to chronicle the lives of a Scottish-American family over three generations from 1968-2068. The heart of the project is an ongoing series of linked short stories with the same main characters.
The project is created and developed by Christopher Marcus.
How do I read Shade of the Morning Sun?
You create reading sequences with individual characters or read chronologically.
Go to the Main Portal and start from wherever you like.
Are the texts in Shade of the Morning Sun like an online novel or short story collection?
They are 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.
Inspirations 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, among others.
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 how she deals with it. Or Jonathan’s PTSD from the Iraq war. But that’s about it.
As the collection grows, obviously there will be sequences that may eventually grow into storylines that resemble novels, such as Carrie’s sojourn to South America 2000-1, but it is by no means a given.
Why has this project been created as 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.
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 did you start 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.
I’ve since decided to transfer the best stories to stand-alone anthology collections that will be published from 2024 and onward (print, ebook, audio). The stories that remain on the site are shorter, complementary stories. Eventually, I expect to put all stories on the site again when I have found a model for this that will work artistically and financially.
What is behind the name: ‘Shade of the Morning Sun’?
I’ve taken the project 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.
The duality of this interpretation, and the title, I think are very fitting for the overall mood of the Shade of the Morning Sun stories.
How will I know when new stories come out?
You can follow the Facebook page and keep updated on new stories.
How often will there be new stories?
I have managed to get new stories out about once a month for a while now, but it varies greatly.
Why are there different people posing for the same character photos?
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.
Last updated 13 May 2023