Media Life: Auburn product’s first novel evolves from hard sell to softcover

Christian Kiefer’s “The Infinite Tides” released in paperback by Bloomsbury
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Media Life columnist
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Media Life's Gus Thomson can be reached at

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Already a critical success in a hardback edition that was marketed on a global scale by a prestigious publishing house, Newcastle resident and Placer High School grad Christian Kiefer’s “The Infinite Tides” has become more accessible to more people.

The Bloomsbury publishing house - perhaps best known as the United Kingdom publisher of the Harry Potter books - is printing “The Infinite Tides” in a paperback edition.

For Kiefer, a member of Placer High School’s Class of 1989, the softcover printing of “The Infinite Tides” is the latest symbol of success for a work that he feels was a turning point in his writing career.

Kiefer, a member of the English faculty at American River College with a doctorate in literature, has published poetry in national journals. He also gained a degree of fame four years ago with a CD collection of 44 songs about the nation’s 44 presidents.

“The Infinite Tides” is a dark novel at times as it examines an astronaut’s hard landing as he moves back into life in suburbia and the realities he faces. Kiefer recalled that while writing much of the book at a nearby Starbucks, he was taken by the number of men who had lost jobs and were there at the coffee place searching through want ads, looking for jobs.

A defining characteristic - “What do you do?” - had been stripped away, he said.


Astronaut grounded

For Kiefer’s astronaut, the journey involves dealing with that sense of self while being, Kiefer said, “kicked and kicked again.”

A densely textured first novel from a writer known more for his poetry was initially a hard sell. Kiefer said 30 agents rejected the idea of representing it to publishers. But he found a believer and the book found a well-known publisher. Bloomsbury has offices in London, New York, Australia and India.

“I had written other novel manuscripts but with this one, I felt my apprenticeship was over,” Kiefer said.

Along the way to “The Infinite Tides,” Kiefer said that a foundation for writing and literature was started in Auburn schools, where he learned and was inspired by teachers like E.V. Cain’s Michael Madden and Placer High’s Michael Duda.

While no readings to mark the newly published paperback edition of “The Infinite Tides” are slated for Auburn, Kiefer will be having one at 7 p.m. May 23 at Time Tested Books, 1114-21st St. in Sacramento.


Authors popping up at Auburn event

Sticking to the theme of authors and poets, dozens will be gathering from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 at the Auburn Library on Nevada Street for the Gold Country Book Festival.

Kiefer said that, regretfully, he won’t be part of this year’s event but plans to be there next year.

The biggest name - and perhaps Auburn’s all-time best-seller - will be pop-up-book author David Carter. Carter has been creating and engineering gorgeous 3-D paper creations for books mostly in the children’s lit realm for about three decades. His artistry has been displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and his name is on more than 90 published titles.

Carter will talk about his journey from the advertising world to author in an 11 a.m. workshop in the library’s Beecher Room.

The event has more information at and is bringing together dozens of writers, who not only have published works to show and sell but are also your friends and neighbors.

The list of names includes Donna Howell, Linda LoBue, Mike Lynch, Joanne Neft, Mary Jane Popp, Susan Rushton, Art Sommers, Bonnie Terry, Jim Ferris, Eric Peach and James Van Eaton.