Lawyer-turned-author Gullette finding joy in sci-fi series
July 20, 2014
By Neil Pierson
New: July 20, 2:51 p.m.
Rob Gullette has the same pursuits as many of his fellow retirees: He enjoys playing golf, visiting with his grandchildren and spending the winter months in a warmer climate.
But Gullette, 67, who has lived in Sammamish since 1988, also keeps busy in nontraditional fashion. He’s the author of the “Apollo Evolutions” series, which debuted in 2012 with the publication of “Waking Apollo,” and continues with its sequel, “Lyra’s Silence,” later this year.
Gullette retired in 2007 after a 30-year career as a lawyer for the Boeing Company. His transition to fiction writing was somewhat serendipitous: After undergoing knee surgery and being forced to stay in bed for six weeks, he had the time to sit down with his laptop computer and get creative.
“I’ve always had a hankering to try and write, but I’ve never really attempted it in terms of fiction,” he said. “I always say, kind of tongue in cheek, that I wrote enough fiction as a lawyer that I thought I might want to try a little different angle on that as a retiree.”
Gullette initially looked to find an agent to help him with his first foray into the literary world. He didn’t find one, but, undaunted, sought a publishing company, and found one in Silver Leaf Books, a relatively young publishing company based in the Boston area.
“Waking Apollo” is the first of a planned four-book series. It’s set in the near future, Gullette explained, and revolves around a new-age space-exploration battle between the United States and China.
The book is available in paperback or electronic form through Amazon.com, and has received several good reviews.
“Great read, interesting characters, realistic story line, almost too realistic, more prophetic given the unstable geopolitical situation in the world today,” one review stated.
“Wonder-ful story, with great character development. This book definitely puts a different spin on the whole space travel (issue),” another review said.
The storyline for “Waking Apollo” came from Gullette’s long background with flight and technology issues at Boeing, as well as some of his personal beliefs.
“It irked me, frankly, when we basically mothballed the space shuttles, put them in museums,” he said.
A poignant scene occurs near the start of the novel. The protagonist, Chris Cooper, is riding a train in Washington, D.C. The seats of the train are torn and patched with duct tape. He looks out the window and views dead grass and trees at the National Mall.
“That’s sort of the condition of the country at that point,” Gullette said, noting that China has become a resurgent power leading the race back to the moon.
“Lyra’s Silence,” the second book in the “Apollo Evolutions” series, is due out late this year. It follows a woman, Wendy Nagumo, who is dealing with terminal cancer and the repercussions of her former career as an astronaut.
“She was on Mars. She picks up and brings home this crystal that she thought was just a bauble – turns out it’s a very significant alien artifact that kind of drives everything from there on,” Gullette said.
He’s in the process of writing the fourth book in the series, and the third book, titled “The Torch Bearers,” is in the editing process. In June, Silver Leaf Books also published an e-book version of “The Missiles at Havadarya,” a prequel to the series.
Gullette and his wife, Linda, have been married for 30 years, and have four children and five grandchildren. When Gullette isn’t writing – often late into the night – he’s usually playing golf. From November to May, he and Linda spend time as “snow birds” at their second home in Palm Desert, Calif.
He said he enjoys the fundamental process of writing, but has tried to leave the other tasks, such as editing and publicity, to others. Books may be an entirely electronic industry one day, Gullette said, but he often hears feedback from his readers that they prefer paper books.
That’s something he addressed in “Lyra’s Silence,” where he coined the term “flimsy” for a thin film that displays programmable text.
“It would have the look and feel of an old book or a traditional newspaper,” he said. “You could kind of accommodate both worlds that way.”