The History of Thunderchild Publishing

Thunderchild Publishing’s creation was totally unintentional. I had been unenthusiastic about trying ebooks. My wife, who had been reading ebooks for awhile, nudged me into trying them by giving me a Kindle. Probably not unsurprisingly, once I had read a few I realized that I actually preferred ebooks over paper books. There were several advantages, including the speed at which I read and the physical comfort of using an ebook reader compared to the massive paperbacks that had become my norm. So I dived in and started exploring the world of digital books.

One thing I discovered was that most of the work of one of my favorite authors, H. Beam Piper, was in the public domain. I could find nearly all of his short stories available from various sources. For my own convenience, I assembled the stories into three themed collections. That process was my learning curve for how to make ebooks, at least the basics. I was kind of proud of those books and I thought, why not make them available to everyone? So, the next step was learning how to publish ebooks through the online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I came up with the name “Thunderchild Publishing” then and, technically, I was a publisher but I didn’t really think of it in those terms. It was just sharing something I thought was cool.

About this same time, a friend had given me several volumes from the Winston Science Fiction series because she knew I enjoyed vintage science fiction. The Winston SF books, along with the “juveniles” by Robert A. Heinlein and Andre Norton, had been a major influence on making me a life-long science fiction fan. Those gifts reminded me of my fondness for the Winston series and with my new preference for ebooks, I went looking for ebook editions of the Winston books only to discover that they did not exist. In fact, most of the books that originally were published in the Winston series had been out of print since then. For some reason, this bothered me and I felt strongly that someone should do something about it. Since no one else appeared to be taking on the job, I decided to do it myself.

A couple of the Winston books were in the public domain but most of them were not. So, I started tracking down the copyright holders for the books and negotiating contracts to allow me to publish the books. I had no idea how any of this was done and had to learn it as I went along. Somehow, it worked and I started publishing some books from the Winston series. Originally, that was all I planned to do but Ruth Lowndes, the sister of the author of one of the Winston books, mentioned that she would like to see his other books back in print. He had written only two other novels, so I thought, why not? After a while I had over two dozen books in print, all books that had been originally published in the 1950s and 60s. I decided to assemble a book of my own from a series of short stories I’d written and published that. Then I published a couple of books by members of my local writers’ group. And I branched out with other genres. I have been a fan of historical naval fiction nearly as long as I’ve been a science fiction fan. So I went after a couple of HNF series that had not been reprinted. One of the agents suggested some aviation books by another author they represented. And it’s been growing ever since. I had never imagined myself doing anything like this. It was just a matter of one thing leading to another. But I am still enjoying it so until it stops being fun, expect to see more from Thunderchild Publishing.

Dan Thompson