1. What are you working on?
I just published my debut novel, Irradiated. It's a dark post-apocalyptic novel set in Brisbane, Australia. Now, I'm working hard on the sequel, Degenerated. I have recently finished the first draft, and am now in the process of tweaking and refining. I'm quite a slow, deliberate writer so my first draft tends to be the bulk of the work. Degenerated is set five-years after the events of Irradiated. In my series, the environment has degraded severely and the sun's radiation has the power to mutate the genes of our children. Thousands of people live underground, in a road tunnel that runs under the Brisbane River. Irradiated focuses on the struggles of two sisters, one of them irradiated, living outside of the tunnel, scavenging to survive. With Degenerated, I wanted to explore life in the tunnels, so I've introduced a new character, Flynn, who lives in their depths. Flynn is a closet-irradiated, living with abilities he doesn't know how to explain, and in a world where difference means death. It also sees the return of Pearl from Irradiated, and her quest for a better life amongst all the wildness.
I'd define my main sub-genre as 'post-apocalyptic fiction'. When I sat down to write in this genre, I asked myself a number of questions.
- Will the fall of society be fast or slow?
- How do you think it's most likely to happen?
- If it's slow, will people in the future even know what happened?
- In Australia, is it reasonable to expect that the post-apocalyptic landscape will be filled with cars and guns?
I write the stories that I want to write, and the stories that I'd want to read. When I write a character, I have a few rules:
- Everybody has reasons for doing the things they do. The more extreme their actions, the more compelling the reasons.
- Nobody sees themselves as the villain. If they act in ways that we see as 'bad', that's only because their motivations compel them to. Everybody is the hero of their own story.
- But, there are no real heroes. Everybody makes mistakes and has weaknesses. Even the best of us sometimes do bad things, no matter how much we strive not to. The greater the pressure, the more we err. Fortunately, to err is human.