Recently, I read and reviewed 'After Eden' by the lovely Helen Douglas. I am so excited to get to quiz her about her novel, along with finding out we share some mutual loves: The Fault in Our Stars and Jake Abel(From The Host).
After Eden is your new book published in July, can you give us a quick synopsis? When mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school, Eden Anfield is intrigued. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So how come he doesn't recognise pizza and hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden most, however, is the interest he's taking in her. As Eden falls in love with Ryan, she stumbles across a book in Ryan's living room - a biography of her best friend - written fifty years in the future. Unravelling Ryan's secret, she discovers he has one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.
How do you feel as publication day gets closer, and the reviews start coming in? Excited – yay! My book will finally be in shops. Anxious – what if everybody hates it? As for reviews – I try to be philosophical about them. Some people will love it (I hope) and some will hate it (inevitably). I’m just focussing on writing the next book.
How long did it take you to write, and were there any moments when you thought "This could actually get published"? I wrote the first draft in three months, then I put it aside for another three. When I picked it up to re-read it, I had a little shiver down my spine and thought ‘I think I might have something here’.
What inspired you to write After Eden? I had a telescope for my birthday a few years ago and started taking an interest in astronomy. And around the time, exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) were being discovered every week. I teach secondary school English and I was listening to my year elevens talk about their prom. These thoughts were all in the back of my mind. And then one morning I woke up and thought: what if you fell in love with a boy who wouldn’t be born until after you died? Immediately I wanted to know how that story would be told – I booted up my computer and started typing.
After Eden centre's around time travel, why did you decide to make your book about this? That’s a really good question. I haven’t really asked myself why – until now! I grew up loving Doctor Who and I love the Terminator movies. And I’ve read some popular science books about time travel. It’s just a fascinating concept. Are there any similarities between you and Eden? If so, what are they? She’s not remotely autobiographical, but we do have a few similarities e.g. I’m also vegetarian, can’t draw, love spending time at the beach.
What is your favourite book now? The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is one of the best books I’ve read recently. I’ve recommended it to everyone I know.
If After Eden was ever adapted into a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters? That’s a fun question. For Eden I’d like someone like Ella Purnell or Izzy Meikle-Small. For Ryan someone like Jake Abel, though he’s a bit too old now.
If you had the choice to travel into the future or the past, what timeline would you visit? I spend hours day-dreaming about this. I’m fascinated by the future. I’d like to travel to 2122 and see what the near future actually turns out like. As for the past, I suspect it would be too dirty and uncomfortable for me, though I would love to visit ancient Greece.
There are times in this book when the characters are discussing fate, do you believe in it? No – I’m a firm believer in free will.
Are you writing anything new at the moment? I’m working on a couple of projects right now. One is about a group of teenagers who kill one of their friends to protect a secret. The other is about a camping trip that goes wrong – with a sci-fi twist.
Quick Fire: Perran or Eden? Eden. Laptop or Notepad? Laptop. Fiction or Non Fiction? Fiction. Sweet or Sour? Sour. Past, Present or Future? All three?
Thank you so much, Helen!