Nick Jones - Epic Sci-Fi About Human Hibernation
When Nick Jones starts to scribble on his white board, another epic sci-fi novel is born. His debut novel, The Whisper of Stars has captivated readers across the globe and received rave reviews. As our author of the day, Jones talks to us about why he likes sci-fi so much, what inspired him to write about human hibernation and how his black belt helps him to write his books.
Please give us a short introduction to The Whisper of Stars
The Whisper of Stars is a Sci-Fi Thriller set in the year is 2091. With accelerated warming and global population out of control, the survival of humanity is hanging in the balance. On the brink of extinction, scientists deliver one last hope. Human hibernation. The hero of the book is Jennifer Logan, a tough cop in the newly formed Duality Division, tasked with enforcing hibernation. When Logan uncovers a memory, hidden deep within her mind, her belief in the system she protects is shattered. Together with an unlikely partner, and convinced that her past holds the secret to mankind’s future, she embarks on a dangerous search for the truth, one that rapidly turns into a struggle for her life.
This was your debut novel. Looking back, what was the experience like?
Amazing. Hard. Beautiful. Heart-breaking. Life affirming. Life changing. Hell. Best thing I’ve ever done. I had tried on two occasions to write the novel and failed. I had plenty of enthusiasm but lacked the skills to stitch together a cohesive plot. I decided to learn as much as I could about creative writing and give it one last go. I took various courses, some on-line, some face-to-face and read as many books on the subject of writing I could get my hands on. I then mapped out the entire novel – at a high level – before starting. It gave me the confidence to start, knowing that no matter what, I was getting to the end.
Why do you like to scribble on a white board?
There are two types of Authors, apparently. Planners (like me) and Pantsters (Those who fly by the seat of their pants). I enjoy the unexpected avenues writing takes me down but I hate writing myself into plot suicide. I have to know where i’m going. Therefore, I have multiple magnetic white boards in my studio that mean I can map out scenes and ideas visually. I can then move them around and get a high-level overview of a book. It helps to ‘see’ it and feel I’m making progress against a plan. Small steps means a book gets done eventually.
A quick tour of Nick's studio
What inspired you to use human hibernation as a theme?
I’m a Star Wars fan. I used to take my Star Wars figures as a kid, place them back into the plastic packaging, fill them with water and freeze them. I used to tell my Mum they were frozen in Carbonite. ‘Suspended Animation’. Hibernating. All that good stuff. So, I think the idea of being frozen in age and time has always fascinated me. For this story I was trying to imagine where we might be in 100 years time, with global warming, food and water shortages, over population etc. I began to wonder if the answer might be less about having enough for everyone and more about reducing the amount of people on earth at once. The idea of Human Hibernation came about, half the population taking it in turn to hibernate, reducing the human footprint and therefore the need for immediate resources.
Jennifer spends a lot of time searching for the truth. Why do you think is truth so important to us humans?
Everything we do as humans is built on a belief system, if we believe we are doing something for the greater good, we can be extremely passionate and forceful. Belief is different to the truth though. Truth is absolute and not always what people want to hear. I liked the idea of writing a story where Jen defends those in power, but then slowly discovers layers of truth. It then challenges her core beliefs and re-defines her at each step. If you remove purpose, which in turn is based on a defined set of beliefs… what is left?
Why science fiction? What appeals to you about the genre?
The future fascinates me, but only with humans in it! I believe – against all the odds – we will solve death and populate the cosmos. (hey, I’m an optimist) but I know it will be hard. I guess, writing Sci-Fi is my love-letter to the future version of us. I’m sad I won’t see it, that I will be of the generation that weren’t lucky enough to try Human v.2.0. I guess, It’s also escapism. Who wouldn’t want retinal implants, epic laser guns and ultra-cool space-craft?
How much research did you have to do to make the sci-fi so believable?
A lot, but I set out to write accessible Sci-Fi. My version is what I would like to think of as a ‘realistic’ future. Often writers and filmmakers overshoot what we will achieve by when, or overcook the cool details. I decided to take a more restrained approach to future tech. The future will be different and in many ways cooler, but people will still drink beer, have sex, fall out with each-other and forget a birthday. I wanted to write a story with a sci-fi premise, but one that felt very 'now' in terms of themes and style. Think about it, have human emotions changed that much in 100 years? Sure, the world has, but our desires are similar I think.
If The Whisper of Stars should ever receive a movie adaptation, who would you like to see in the role of Jennifer Logan?
Zoe Saldana would make an excellent Jennifer Logan. Tough and cool but with that beautiful feminine elegance. A great mix.
Your book is fast-paced and action packed. How hard was that to pull off?
Hard. I tend to be thoughtful and want my characters chatting all the time! So, I had to force myself to include action but challenge myself to ensure it was necessary to plot. I focused on Jennifer Logan. She’s tough and direct and very action oriented. So, whenever quick thinking and direct response was required I asked her what she would do. 9 times out of 10 she dove in head-first!
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m a 2nd Dan Black-Belt. It helps with fight scenes ; )
Do you think that mankind would ever manage to develop the technology that would let people go into hibernation for long stretches of time?
Absolutely. We will need to if we are ever going to travel far enough to colonize. I suspect necessity rather than curiosity will drive the technology. Although it makes me sad, I think we have done long-term damage to our amazing planet. We will need to find a way to live though this stage of our evolution. Relative time of a life is something we can solve, so traveling for thousands of years to reach another earth will need to happen.
How does the next book in the series tie in with The Whisper of Stars?
Hibernation Book 2 picks up directly from 1 and reveals more of the layers behind the lies. It’s a story about fighting for someone you believe in and doing whatever it takes to save them. In the book I explore the views of those in power a little more too. For me the best bad guys are the ones who make a really good case for their way of doing things. Even Darth Vader wanted to bring order to the galaxy!
Where can our readers interact with you or find more of your work?
I’m Rubbish at social media but am trying to get better. I have a Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/authornickjones/
And a website. http://nickjonesauthor.com/books/
I spend my time writing (bit a hermit me) so love it when I hear from people. It makes my day to hear from readers! I like email… Hey, I’m old-fashioned and write sci-fi. Go figure...