Over the last month, I’ve been running a Kickstarter campaign to fund publication of my new nonfiction book The Secrets of the Heinlein Juvenile, the world’s first in-depth study of what are arguably (depending on how you define your terms) the twelve most influential books in science fiction history. It’s a book aimed at writers, lit students, fans of Science Fiction, and lovers of the books for teenagers written by Robert A. Heinlein starting with Rocket Ship Galileo and ending with Starship Troopers.

I gave several authors a sneak peak at it, and here’s what two of them said:

Edward J. Knight’s Review

The Superlative Edward J. Knight, he of near-future SF Westerns and many other talents besides, has taken a peek at The Secrets of the Heinlein Juvenile. Here is his take:

There are writing guides that describe story structures. Then there’s The Secrets of the Heinlein Juvenile by J. Daniel Sawyer, which tackles blended story structures in a way unlike all those other guides. Sawyer walks through the dozen Heinlein juvenile novels and shows how they interweave the hero’s journey, heroine’s journey, and other major structures. Along the way, he shares amusing personal anecdotes and stories of Heinlein’s life.

If you’re a Heinlein fan, or if you just want to learn more about crafting stories that have more than a simple storyline, you’ll enjoy The Secrets of the Heinlein Juvenile.

Tim Niedaritter’s Review

Epic fantasy and MilSF author Tim Neidaritter managed to finagle a pre-review copy of The Secrets of the Heinlein Juvenile. His thoughts are short, and sweet (unlike his books, which are long and chewy and well worth a squint or two).

The Secrets of the Heinlein Juvenile is thoroughly researched and engrossing in its completeness! Sawyer explores far more than the works of Heinlein and dives deep into what makes the master storyteller’s works function. Any reader or writer could do a lot worse than Dan Sawyer as a guide on this journey through Heinlein’s work.


Six days remain in the campaign, and in those six days there are a few surprises in store that you won’t want to miss. Remember that those who back the campaign will get a special edition of Secrets, one with two extra chapters that explore the connections between the Heinlein Juvenile and Heinlein’s Early and Middle Period adult novels (Double Star, The Door into Summer, Orphans of the Sky, Methuselah’s Children, etc.) and show how the development of the Juvenile form was part of the secret sauce that catapulted Heinlein to his status as Dean of Science Fiction.
These chapters will not be available in the general release version for many years, so if you want them, this is your only chance!
Come, join me, and let’s bring this book to the world!