Delta College’s Jeff Vande Zande’s releases new novel ‘Rules of Order’

While some people spent the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic delving into new hobbies, Delta College professor Jeff Vande Zande was working on writing his latest novel.

He published a sci-fi novel, Rules of Order, in August and will be hosting a book launch this week.

Rules of Order is Vande Zande’s fifth novel and the 12thth book he published.

The novel is a dystopian story set in a post-apocalyptic world and focuses on the residents of a city’s only habitable building – a skyscraper. The main character, Harvey Crow, works with a group of activists who warn fellow residents that the building is not structurally sound, though the board wants to add more penthouse floors. Unfortunately, their warnings fall on deaf ears.

“This group recognizes that their information campaign needs to go further if they really want to make a difference,” said Midland’s Vande Zande.

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“Rules of Order” is recommended for an adult audience, said Vande Zande. He added that its protagonist is rather middle-aged, active and believes strongly in his cause. Vande Zande’s literary influences are JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, who wrote about heroes that readers could sympathize with.

Vande Zande explained that the story is a metaphor of what humanity is going through today in terms of climate change and our culture full of conflicting voices. Despite being a dystopian novel, Rules of Order contains uplifting themes and an inspirational message, said Vande Zande.

“It at least celebrates the spirit of those who would say, ‘Things don’t have to be this way,’ and they start trying to change things,” he explained. “I think that will save us in the end.”

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Rules of Order was inspired by a short story that Vande Zande published in a 2020 collection of short stories called The Neighborhood Division: Stories. He saw potential to expand on aspects of a short story, “Load,” which has a similar narrative.

Vande Zande started working on Rules of Order in early 2020. Just as he hit 20,000 words, the pandemic shutdowns began.

“In short, I wrote the first draft in five weeks,” he said.

Vande Zande spent the next few months editing the book and streamlining the narrative before seeking publishers. He eventually went to Montag Press, a small Californian publishing company that focuses on science fiction works.

One of Vande Zane’s colleagues, Andrew Rieder, an art professor at Delta College, provided the cover artwork for the book.

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Vande Zande is hosting a book launch at Grape Beginnings Winery in Downtown Midland on Thursday, September 22nd at 6:30-8:30pm. Throughout the evening Vande Zande will be signing copies of his book. Rules of Order will also be available at a reduced price of $10.

Hosting the book event at Grape Beginnings Winery is a great way to promote a local business that supports the arts.

“I hope it’s a win-win situation for both of us,” said Vande Zande. “I’m originally from the UP but I feel like (Midland) is my home. It’s a welcoming city. It was so supportive.”

Vande Zande will be hosting another event for Rule of Order on October 13 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Theodore Roethke Museum in Saginaw.\

The book is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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