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”?
No. Though the world as we know it is entirely flooded in my story, this transformation of our landscape isn’t a result of climate change. It was actually an asteroid strike 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?
Unfortunately, I haven’t. I would dearly love to pilot a submersible down into the deep, and race through the depths. The chance to visit a whole other world, right here on ours. I do hope I get the chance to experience this one day.
WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER TO WRITE?
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 for humanity—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!
DO WE SEE MORE OF THEO AND TABBY IN BOOK 2?
Yes! They’re around for longer in book 2. Oh and Tabby finds a new interest...
YOU MENTION A “SEASICKNESS” IN YOUR NOVEL. WHAT EXACTLY IS IT?
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. 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 unfathomable and challenging 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 toxic nostalgia onto sufferers, and don’t recognise 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’ve been thrust into.
ARE YOU PLANNING ON WRITING FURTHER NOVELS IN THE SERIES?
Leyla’s story is now complete and I will not be revisiting her in any further works. And at present I have no plans to return to the Light the Abyss universe.
IS LEYLA AFGHAN?
No, Leyla is, like myself, a British Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity and Afghan heritage :)