With baby number 2 still not making an appearance, I’ve decided to write a blog post addressing how someone like myself, who isn’t a particular fan of anything sci-fi/fantasy (bar the big names like Harry Potter) ended up writing a novel in this genre! As I scrolled through my blog, it suddenly struck me how out of place it seemed. There amongst all the posts about being a mum and dealing with realistic, day-to-day issues are posts plugging a novel set 100 years in the future on a giant spacecraft travelling to a new planet. It occurred to me that I had never explained how the idea came to be, because, in truth, it is MUCH more relevant to the topics I blog about and my life as a mum in general than it seems.
I was sitting in bed alone in early 2016. My son, Samuel, was just two months old, and was sleeping soundly in the cot beside me. I’d been watching “In The Club” on BBC1 and was in the middle of relaxing and having some “me” time when the news came on. I don’t usually watch the news, but that night I didn’t get up to change the channel in time and was sucked in by the first round of Headlines.
Every story was doom and gloom. ISIS, North Korea, global warming, antibiotics running out, the “Brexit” debate and what the consequences of leaving the EU could be. To top all this off there was a feature about the “Doomsday clock”- a clock that Scientists set each year to symbolise how close they think we are to the Apocalypse with “midnight” meaning the end. That year, they had announced it was set at “11:58 p.m”.
Needless to say after watching this I felt incredibly shaken, depressed and vulnerable. Here I was trying to care for a tiny baby, with no way of being able to control any of the disastrous things that could potentially happen in his lifetime. As a new mum, I was extra sensitive to everything anyway, and was less able to brush things off as I would have normally. I found myself lying awake in the dark, completely unable to sleep as I worried myself sick about what was going to happen to the world.
Then an idea came into my head. What if, somehow, humanity could have a second chance? What if we built a big spaceship, big enough for everyone to live on for many years, and went off to start again on a new world. It was a far-fetched concept, but imagining it was a possibility was enough to help me drift off to sleep.
The next day, I kept thinking about my daydream. What would it be like taking such a journey? Who would be allowed on the ship and why? Where would the destination be? The story started form in my mind, characters and plot lines evolving naturally- a lot of them based on elements of my real life.
At the heart of my story are the issues that I blog about. Motherhood, the experience of having children, how far we would go to protect them, the struggles we face and the rewards we gain from it. The central themes of the book are still family, relationships, upbringing and the differentiating bonds parents and children have. It may be set around a futuristic mystery, but I wove so much of my personal thoughts, feelings and experiences into it that I think it’s still relatable and relevant to life in the present day!
Hopefully this post ties together the two different elements of my writing- this blog and the book- which seem unrelated but really go hand in hand! The world hasn’t changed much since I came up with the idea for the book, but over time I’ve managed to replace the overwhelming fear with hope, and the ability to appreciate each happy, normal day we have as a family, instead of worrying about what may be. And who knows… maybe someone from NASA will read the book and decide to turn the fantasy into a reality 😉