Thunder Bay·Audio

Ottawa author brings new climate change thriller novel to Thunder Bay

Author David Chernushenko is hoping to lead by example as he promotes his new climate change thriller novel, Burning Souls.

David Chernushenko to host book launch Thursday evening, part of cross-country promotional tour

Former Ottawa city councillor David Chernushenko will host a book launch event for his debut novel Burning Souls in Thunder Bay on Thursday. (Carmen Klassen/CBC)

Author David Chernushenko is hoping to lead by example as he promotes his new climate change thriller novel, Burning Souls.

The Ottawa-based Chernushenko is currently driving across Canada in an all-electric vehicle as he promotes the novel, a tour that brings him to Thunder Bay, Ont., Thursday evening.

"I typically read about four chapters," Chernushenko said of his book launch events. "And then just go to Q and A afterwards."

"I hope some sales, and signing, too."

Chernushenko is making the entire drive from Ottawa — where the book was released on May 27 — to Vancouver Island, in an all-electric Chevy Bolt car.

"I'm trying to show that it's possible now to cross the country in an EV," he said. "You have to do it patiently, because there aren't fast-chargers everywhere."

Climate action thriller

As for the book itself, Burning Souls is described as a climate action thriller. It's a subject close to Chernushenko's heart; he's a former Ottawa city councillor, and chaired Ottawa's environment and climate protection committee.

"I got the city to adopt a renewable energy transition strategy," he said. "But it was never as much as I wanted, and funded as well as I wanted, and happening as fast as I wanted."

"I'm always feeling a lot of us who are in the advocacy and action social change world can be frustrated that it's not happening quickly enough," Chernushenko said. "Humans resist change, and often push back, and that's a big part of this book."

Prior to Burning Souls, Chernushenko wrote three how-to books on sustainable living, and made three documentary films covering renewable energy, urban cycling and people who are attempting to live sustainably.

Burning Souls, he said, is his first fictional work, although it does have a basis in reality.

"It is trying to introduce, to the reader, first of all, just a really good story," he said. "But ultimately to get people to act, to recognize the urgency of the situation."

"One thing I wanted to be sure is that the reader doesn't feel like they got conned into reading a book that's actually a lecture by pretending it's a story," Chernushenko said. "In my book, everything is true, except my characters are invented and the scenarios that they run into ... until we jump into the future in the book, and at that point, of course, it's speculative fiction."

The Thunder Bay book launch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship.