I recently read Kingsley, the dystopian eco-thriller from fellow Virginia author Carolyn O’Neal and shared my thoughts both here on my website and over on The Wrambling Writers podcast.
I loved the book so much that I wanted to talk with Carolyn a bit more. So I asked her a few questions about Kingsley, where it came from and what might be coming from her next. Also, keep your ears tuned to The Wrambling Writers where we’ll have Carolyn as a guest in the not-too-distant future!
RF: Where did the idea for Kingsley begin?
Carolyn: About 8 years ago, my son and a friend were playing video games in the den. They were middle-schoolers and adorable. (I might be the only mom in the world whose heart melts when she sees her son playing video games!) As they were playing, I was reading a report about how certain chemicals in petroleum based pesticides and herbicides mimic estrogen and have a detrimental effect on male fish and reptiles. Almost immediately the conversation between Bapsi and Charlotte in Chapter 16 popped into my head, when Bapsi compared men to tigers: beautiful and dangerous and mourned deeply when they were gone.
RF: Do you have a favorite character from the book?
Carolyn: I think I did a good job of creating very different characters, each with their own personality. My readers say their favorites are Joyce and Charlotte. I’m happy with that.
RF: What do you do besides writing?
Carolyn: I volunteer for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program. It’s important to me that I not just fret about the environment; I want to make a difference. These two non-profits have improved the water quality of Virginia waterways. I’m proud to be a part of this positive change.
RF: Can you tell us about what’s coming next from you?
Carolyn: I am writing another eco-thriller that continues the story in KINGSLEY and I’m working with an illustrator on a children’s picture book entitled TERRY AND THE MONSTER BEATERS that’s geared to preschoolers and early readers facing a frightening visit to the hospital.
In my next eco-thriller, I want to touch on the global effects of climate change. As with all momentous changes, there will be winners and losers. Probably the best comparison is 1492 when North America was introduced to the rest of the world. On the human scale, this accelerated the rise of the Spanish Empire and the fall of the Mayans, but the environmental impact s were arguably more devastating. The introduction of European and African plants and animals to the Americas drove hundreds, perhaps thousands, of native species to extinction. Our beloved honeybee, which graces the cover of KINGSLEY, is a European import. It was considered a harbinger of evil to many early native cultures because it meant European settlers weren’t far behind.