Portage la Prairie is preparing for local author Rachael Clarke to introduce her latest literary work, "Race to Novus." Known for her previous works in children's literature and comedic short stories, Clarke is now moving into science-fiction western novels with her first full-length endeavor. 

Clarke shared her passion for speculative fiction, citing influences from beloved classics like "Firefly" and "Serenity."  

"It's about a down-on-her-luck, debt-ridden cowgirl named Finn Rucker, who's had trouble back home and needs to pay off some debts with her family on Earth. She gets this opportunity to this nebulous race on an unexplored planet. She whisks her bionic horse away to take this chance at winning free land and a fresh start. Of course, nothing ever goes to plan, so everything goes kind of crazy and goes off the rails and it's a good time." 

Clarke's writing process involved infusing elements of her own experiences and observations into her characters and settings, especially her love of horses. 

"There's parts of me in [Finn] for sure, and I love horses." Clarke explained, "I'm a horse fanatic, so of course there's a bionic horse in this book and you'll fall in love with him. He really steals the show." 

Readers are invited to join Clarke for the book launch event at the Portage la Prairie Regional Library on April 6 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Attendees can enjoy refreshments, engaging discussions, book signings, and exciting giveaways, including a horse-themed blanket and signed copies of the book.