Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Tabitha Martin
Mentee Name: Cliff Lewis
Title: SANCTUARY MOON
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Backpacking Space Opera
Word Count: 92,000
She packs her tent, her boots, her shape-shifting lantern.
Ava sneaks out of her utopian colony to help Dex, a refugee desperate to reach a distant sanctuary. Ava once dreamed of hiking this wild planet, of surveying the alien beasts, but real life is no safari adventure. Both travelers are being trailed—Dex by the labor camp he escaped and Ava by the memories of a friend she left behind.
INTERSTELLAR meets THE NEVERENDING STORY.
Ava Waltonbury was alone—mostly. No one else got up this early, except for the old tin lantern. Tinker. Ava named him that when she was very small, after she’d learned how to read and before she’d forgotten how to dream. Tinker floated behind her shoulder like always, but apart from the lantern, Ava was alone.
She left the dorms of Waltonbury Castle and shambled into the flowery courtyard of Wingracks Academy. It was like sleepwalking minus the sleep.
Just another restless morning in the happiest place ever built.
Tinker zipped in front of her face, chirping about the shabby nightdress Ava hadn’t changed out of. His tin-can body cast lamplight through a punched-out crescent moon.
“Nobody’ll see me this early,” Ava yawned.
Tinker chirped again.
“Fine.” Ava tucked the nightdress into her wrinkled trousers. “Now it’s a blouse. More or less.”
Tinker tweeted something about less, but Ava wasn’t paying attention. She gave him a pat and wandered ahead. “What time is it anyway?”
The lantern twisted into a filigreed cuckoo clock, his clock face backlit by a golden flame.
Ava froze. “Six already?”
A tin cuckoo popped out and nodded.
By now there should’ve been at least one professor out here on a quilt, reading poetry by lantern-light or doing something obnoxiously picturesque like that. The entire quad was empty.
“Awfully quiet for six.”