Image: Leyla McQueen & Jojo
Designed & illustrated by Diana Pinguicha
WHEN DOES THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD RELEASE IN PAPERBACK?
September 28 ’21
WHEN IS JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF THE ABYSS PUBLISHED?
October 26 ’21. Details on book 2 of the Light the Abyss duology are regularly updated here.
WILL THE COVER OF JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF THE ABYSS MATCH THE PAPERBACK COVER OF THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD?
Yes. Nothing Light the Abyss-related will ever be matched to book 1’s hardback cover.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THE LIGHT THE ABYSS SERIES? AND CAN YOU SHARE MORE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
I speak on this and more in various interviews which you can find here.
IS THE LIGHT THE ABYSS SERIES “CLIMATE FICTION”?
Though it’s set deep underwater, the setting isn’t actually caused by climate change. Therefore, to the best of my knowledge, it isn’t technically “climate fiction”—though I could of course be mistaken. It was an asteroid that brought about the floods in my story world. I speak more on this in my interview with Kirkus.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A SUBMERSIBLE OR SUBMARINE YOURSELF?
Most unfortunately, I haven’t. I would give anything to pilot a submersible down into the deep, and race through the depths. It’s the chance to visit a whole other world, right here on ours. Whenever I try to imagine it, it feels like flying. I hope with all my heart I get the chance to do this one day, inshallah.
First and foremost, Leyla. Not only do I love her bravery and determination in the face of such adversity, but I've experienced my dream—that of a submerged existence—through her. After Leyla, it would have to be Oscar Wilde. I had great fun with Oscar, especially in book 2 when he begins to assert himself in ever delightful and wicked ways!
I love them too! And yes, they’re around for longer this time. Oh and Tabby finds a new interest...
The flooding in my story world is global, and extensive enough to be society-altering. There’s currently no precedent for how planetary change on such a cataclysmic scale might affect our psyche. We've no prior experience of a transformation at this level. I had to consider how such a change could potentially impact our well-being, and concluded it wouldn’t be improbable for many of us to suffer from some sort of malaise specific to the new environment we suddenly found ourselves in. Of course those present during the disaster would have suffered the greatest. It’s quite possible subsequent generations might have found the situation less suffocating, but in my story world the seasickness remains a huge problem partially due to society’s obsession with everything Old-World (pre-floods), and its refusal to acknowledge the malaise as anything other than an innate longing for life before the disaster. They’re projecting their own extreme nostalgia onto sufferers, and don’t recognise that it’s actually a condition that requires real treatment. As such, Leyla too is only just beginning to try and understand the malaise in book 1. The seasickness is born specifically out of the people’s relationship to the submerged environment they’re thrust into.
ARE YOU PLANNING ON WRITING FURTHER NOVELS IN THE SERIES?
I’m getting this question quite a bit recently. I’m done with Leyla’s story for now. However, I wouldn’t rule out one day returning to the series to cover two specific periods: The day they're finally able to safely return to the surface, and when the disaster first hit (a prequel). The latter has especially always really excited me. I’d put a lot of thought into how we might react to the news of impending global flooding that would see us relocate to the deep, exactly how we'd try and prepare ourselves at every level, and all the specifics of the waters rising around us. Humans living underwater will always intrigue me no end, and covering that time—such a tremendous, unprecedented change for humanity—would mean I could really explore the transformation at every level. So I'm definitely not ruling out returning to the Light the Abyss series one day.
IS LEYLA AFGHAN?
No, Leyla is, like myself, a British Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity, and Afghan heritage :)