We may enter a significant change in the world as we know it in the not-too-distant future. Facing the truth and telling the truth is difficult, especially when it isn’t what people want to hear.
G.G. Kellner – 5 May 2022
The Back Flap
One quiet afternoon in 2037, Joyce Denzell hears a thud in her family’s home library and finds a book lying in the middle of the room, seemingly waiting for her—a book whose copyright page says it was published in the year 2200. Over the next twenty-four hours, each of the Denzell family members discovers and reads from this mystical history book from the future, nudged along by their cat, Plato.
As the various family members take turns reading, they gradually uncover the story of Gabe, Mia, and Ruth—a saga of adventure, endurance, romance, mystery, and hope that touches them all deeply. Along the way, the Denzells all begin to believe that this book that has seemingly fallen out of time and space and into their midst might actually be from the future—and that it might have something vitally important to teach them.
Engaging, playful, and thought-provoking, Hope is a seven-generation-spanning vision of the future as it could be—based on scientific projections, as well as historical and legal precedence—that will leave readers grappling with questions of destiny, responsibility, and the possibility for hope in a future world.
About the book
What is the book about?
As the various members of the Denzell family explore a history book from the future that has fallen out of time and space and into their home, they gradually uncover, with the help of a mystical cat, the story of Gabe, Mia, Ruth, and a girl without a name. The book chronicles the rise of a peaceful, just, verdant world following a possible collapse of the world as it is now and asks the question, “Could we avoid the breakdown and build such a society by acting now.”
Hope, A History of the Future is fictional, but it is based in scientific possibility and historical precedence sighted in the back of the book. The story carries the reader beyond the horizon of environmental catastrophe and offers hope in a time of despair.
When did you start writing the book?
I started the book in 2016 after seeing a need for a vision of the future where things come out alright. Even if we undergo a societal and environmental collapse it could be the beginning of something better.
How long did it take you to write it?
It was a long process, about three years for the first draft and another two before the editing and publishing were complete.
Where did you get the idea from?
Hope, A History of the Future opens with a history book from the future falling out of time and space and into a family’s home library. The opening comes from a strange experience I had of hearing a clatter in my own makeshift library and going in to find a book in the middle of the floor! No explanation yet of how it got there. Just like my character Joyce in the opening, I looked up to see if there was a hole in the ceiling! And then and there was born the idea of a history book falling out of time and space and into a family home as the basis for a peek into a distant future.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
Yes, particularly with telling the truth and accepting myself the state of the planets’ climate. We may enter a significant change in the world as we know it in the not-too-distant future. Facing the truth and telling the truth is difficult, especially when it isn’t what people want to hear.
It was also difficult to imagine positive outcomes. We are hard wired to see problems. Thinking about and imagining positive outcomes is much more difficult than imagining disasters, made more so because I based the future world I imagine in Hope, A History of the Future on scientific possibility as well as historical precedence.
What came easily?
Once my characters were established, they naturally began to tell their own stories.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
They are both fictitious and borrowed. I have a large family and I found myself using some of them as the base for some of the characters, then combining people, facts and fiction, to make really interesting characters.
Plato, the trickster cat featured on the cover in Hope, A History of the Future is modeled on a real cat that belongs to an elderly neighbor.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
I am a voracious reader, but I read significantly more non-fiction than fiction which I think is reflected in the extensive backmatter I include in the book to give a historical understanding and weight to the rise of a peaceful, just, verdant future world.
I’m a big fan of classic literature. Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemmingway, Leo Tolstoy, and Maya Angelou are among my favorite authors. I also really admire the poets; Wislawa Szymborska, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, and Robert Frost. Poets distill a story or a moment into a short form work of art. I admire that. I got special permission to use one of Mary Oliver’s poems in the book.
I also admire the children’s authors Marice Sendak, Arnold Lobel, Betty MacDonald. They all tell stories in a way that captures the hearts of children but also the adults who are reading to them.
When a Kirkus reviewer described Hope, A History of the Future as “An engaging fable like tale . . .” I knew I’d hit my mark.
Do you have a target reader?
I felt this topic was so important I really wanted to reach a wide audience of readers 16 and up. So, I kept Hope, A History of the Future moving at a fast pace. I included a little mystery, romance, a lot of adventure and a dash of magic–– with Plato the cat as a trickster character. I also aimed to keep it pretty short. It is very readable for most people in 4 or 5 hours.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
Yes, I start promptly after coffee in the morning! And I write a minimum of 3 hours–– up to 7 hours a day.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
Yes, I took a huge piece of butcher paper and posted it across one entire wall. Then I drew with big colored markers the intertwining story lines. I used post-it notes and bits of paper I had written ideas on–– taping them all to the story line. I added more handwritten notes that included events, characters, and specific scenes. Then I was ready to start the actual writing.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
Some of both, but I learned quickly to keep only one live version of Hope, A History of the Future so I didn’t get swamped with too many choices, too many versions.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
I need complete silence for writing so I can hold the whole story in my mind as I write.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
Yes, just one I had researched extensively. I got a nice reply, but they didn’t have room to take Hope, A History of the Future right away. I felt the book was time sensitive, so I pushed on.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
I did lots of research and it soon became clear that if I wanted to maintain control and the independence of the story and get wide distribution and I needed an indie publisher.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
I got to give significant input, but Spark Press had a design team for the cover. I am a professional artist as well as author and poet. I like to engage both the left- and right-hand sides of the brains of my readers so I created eight block prints that punctuate sections of the book and I also included eight historical photographs with the historical documents that support the rise of a peaceful, just, verdant future I envision in Hope, A History of the Future.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I hired a publicist and I’m investing in marketing.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Be prepared to set aside some of your monetary resources to get your book out to the public both with a publicist and a marketing campaign. They are both important if you want wide readership and not necessarily the same thing.
I’d also advice authors to choose a shorter title than I did! Whew, I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve written Hope, A History of the Future. It would have been much easier to have a short title!
Where did you grow up?
On an island in the Salish Sea.
Where do you live now?
I live in the same house old house on a hillside overlooking the sea that has been in my family for over 100 years–– five generations. I have been granted through that experience a front row seat to climate change over a lot of years. It helped motivate me to write a book with possible solutions not just problems.
What would you like readers to know about you?
I hope to humbly nudge the world towards a better place. If Hope, A History of the Future does more than pay for itself a portion of the profits will be going to organizations that support the rise of a just, peaceful, verdant world.
What are you working on now?
The sequel to Hope, A History of the Future is in the works, but I also have several children’s books and a book of poems I’m completing.
End of Interview:
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