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UWRF professor publishes ‘Steps of the Sun’

December 5, 2014

UW-River Falls English Professor Steven Luebke recently published a novel he has been working on since “Beatles” founder John Lennon’s death.

“Steps of the Sun” is a novel that Luebke has been working on since he was in graduate school about 30 years ago.

Luebke said that the story had evolved from his interest in John Lennon. Just before his death, Lennon had released a new album and he was doing interviews and really publicizing himself. Up until this point Luebke did not really know much about Lennon besides the fact that he “blamed him for the Beatles breaking up.”

Luebke’s interest in Lennon really peaked after reading about him in an interview piece.

“I started to think what a cool guy he was,” Luebke said. “He was a guy anybody could relate to.”

Then once the news was out about Lennon’s death, Luebke said that it was just devastating to him.

“I felt as if I had just kind of met this person, and then he was gone,” he said.

So he started writing and creating a character that was a graduate student; Luebke was also a graduate student as he started formulating this novel. His plan for the novel was that Lennon’s death was going to impact the main character in some way.

From this point on, Luebke would work on the novel and then set it aside consistently up until its completion this year.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about it all the time. The characters kept talking to me and it kind of drives somebody a bit nutty,” Luebke said referring to his persistence in continuing to write the story and following it through to the end after so many years.

The story is set in Madison, although Madison is never really named throughout the book. It is about four different characters that got invented as Luebke continued to work on the piece. The four characters are: a priest, a nun, a graduate student and a journalist.

The priest and nun characters came about because Luebke had attended a Catholic grade school for eight years and he had knowledge in the way that priests and nuns interacted with each other.

A note from the editor said, “‘Steps of the Sun’ shines a light on persistent social disorder: veterans bearing the wounds of stigma and shame; minorities barely subsisting in slums; students struggling with punishing debt; people reduced to automatons by the media; and drug dealers pushing dope to support personal economies.”

Luebke had gone to several publishers without success throughout the construction of the novel.

“I kind of said to myself, ‘I just don’t think anything will ever come of this.’ But then there was this other part of me that said, ‘well you worked on this and spent so much time on it, why don’t you just finish it’?” Luebke said.

When the novel was finally altogether he had heard about an e-book publishing company, Tri-Screen Connection Book Publishing. He sent them an e-mail and they decided to go ahead and publish his book.

A simple Google search on “publishing novels” floods a screen with trials and tribulations of writers working on publishing their novels. It can be a grueling task.

The book has been out for about a month and not many copies have been sold at this point. However, Luebke said that he did not finish and publish the book to make money; it was more of a personal success. “Steps of the Sun” and can be found at web-e-books.com.