What inspirations kick-start a story? What life experiences endow it with realism and emotion? What message is the author trying to get across?
The first story I was moved to tell was inspired by the science behind climate change, the science as it stood in 2010 that is. I tried to imagine the effect climate change would have on the world, and on mankind in particular. While the planet would probably repair itself in time, would we survive?
It was held that some areas of the world would become desert as temperatures warmed, and the lack of snowfall on mountains dried rivers and parched land, while other desert areas might become greener. Sea levels would rise, cities would be drowned, land for growing crops would become scarcer, society as we know it would break down, and mankind would be on the move in even greater numbers than they are at present – only whereas in past climate changes, man has been able to be nomadic, now, we have borders.
I imagined a world where a few places were anticipated to be habitable and imagined the fight for these oases by those in power. Centuries on, a different civilisation would evolve, and just as we have beliefs based on two thousand year-old prophesies and teachings, so would a new world have new beliefs.
And so The Child of Prophecy was born, and the story grew in the telling. My love of planet Earth comes through in the descriptions of the mountains and the deserts of North Africa, where the story is set. My scepticism about faith runs through the tale like water along a stream. My personal experience of love and loss are apparent in the emotions of Kiya and Raphel, separated by ‘The Chosen’, Alaric. Raphel’s search for Kiya reflects my own search for inner peace, and the ending, I suppose, is a twist those who know me well would expect – a thumbing of my nose at accepted conventions. (Once I’d had the idea, I couldn’t resist using it)
What message was I trying to put across? One that is still sadly being ignored. Big business still rules the world with a greedy hand, and governments have neither the will nor the power to make meaningful contributions towards saving the planet. Already, we have a stupid war, already society is breaking down; entropy, a gradual decline into disorder, seems inevitable. I hope I am wrong – I have children and grandchildren, and when I began writing this novel, I wanted to take the world by the throat and shake it.
It’s a tale of courage and cowardice, of slaughter and survival, of greed, megalomania, community, generosity of spirit, and of love, faith, and hope. I should add here that the rather sadistic treatment of one of the villains was my ex-husband’s idea, and not mine! I have a feeling he was trying to tell me something…
‘There is so much that is good about this book’ – Frank Parker author of Strongbow’s Wife.