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Workforce Project Manager Andy Orr publishes first novel

Jett Smith cover
Cover art and illustrations by J.L. Erwin

I was standing at the mouth of a dark cave, somewhere on Mars. I walked in, cylinder beams of white from my utility lights guiding the way. It was cold; my boots crunched in frost. I walked until the cave dead-ended in a blue wall of ice.
     -Jett Smith and the Alien Grave, page 12

Through the perspective of 12-year-old Jett Smith, Green River Workforce Project Manager Andy Orr takes his young adult audience on an adventure to Mars in his first published work, "Jett Smith and the Alien Grave."

Available on Amazon in paperback and ebook formats, "Jett Smith and the Alien Grave" was published on July 6. Supplemented by stunning illustrations by J.L. Erwin, "Jett Smith and the Alien Grave" offers engaging prose successfully and deliberately delivered from pre-teen's perspective:  "Authentic," as one Amazon reviewer described it.

The book is an illustrated science fiction novel set on Mars in near future. The story centers on a young protagonist, 12-year-old Samuel Jett Smith. Jett lives on a Martian colony and holds the distinction of being the first human born on Mars.

With a technical and academic writing background, delivering a story from a young boy's perspective proved a huge challenge with immense payoff for Orr. "Tailoring a story for young readers forced me to change my entire style and approach," he explained. "It meant reimagining myself as a writer."

"Jett Smith and the Alien Grave" took one year to complete, from concept to publication. Orr warns that writing a book is "99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration, though even that might be giving inspiration too much credit."

Orr views storytelling as a vehicle to engage young adults in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. "Kids need quality science fiction to fuel their imaginations," Orr explained. "Maybe a new wave of science fiction can kick start a generation of dreamers and innovators."

"Now that 'Jett Smith and the Alien Grave' is making its maiden voyage into the world, I've got a case of butterflies-big time," Orr admitted. "Terra incognita--the unknown is scary, even though it might conceal wonderful things."

For those of us down here on Earth, though, Orr's ride to the stars seems pretty fun to watch.