Guest Post: Shari Lopatin
Author: Shari Lopatin
Published: May 19, 2018
How Babies and Tablets Inspired this Dystopian Novel By: Shari Lopatin
Babies and tablets. The rise of propaganda. Rosh Hashana dinner. These were a few of the factors that led to the inspiration behind my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion.
I love reading the story behind the story from favorite authors, like Margaret Atwood or Junot Diaz. So when Autumn asked me to write a guest post on what inspired MY first book, I couldn’t resist. OK, I actually felt special. That’s allowed occasionally, right?
The Story Behind the Story
Everything began in September 2013, when I’d gone to my mom’s house with my boyfriend and sister for Rosh Hashana dinner. In case that sounds like Elvish to you, Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year, because our calendar goes by the moon (I know, we’re weirdly Twilight like that).
While munching on noodle pudding and roasted chicken, my mom started telling us about a news story regarding babies and tablets. Babies were learning the swiping motion of using tablets before they learned to talk.
“What does that mean for the future of our society?” my mom asked, her face squishing together in disgust.
My writer’s brain had a conniption, and I swear I almost died from choking on my food.
“Seriously,” I said. “I wonder what would happen if someone who lived in today’s society got thrown into a future where people are more comfortable with computers than other people.”
The Birth of a Book
At the time, I’d been struggling to write a novel with an ever-changing plot that always seemed to become futile, shallow, or boring. I was stuck.
But THIS. OMG THIS.
I’d been a daily newspaper reporter when the Great Recession hit. I left journalism for public relations to survive the flood, but always intended on going back. However, as I watched the rise of social media and the subsequent demise of my beloved, traditional journalism, I grew angry.
I began to wonder how this change in dynamics would affect the information filtering into our system that could, one day, affect elections. After Rosh Hashana dinner, I realized I had an idea for a dystopia that finally spoke to the issues burning in my belly:
- Control of information
- Sociological effects of over-digitalization
- The power of propaganda
- Loss of privacy
- The thirst for truth
Now, my dream has come true. The Apollo Illusion is publishing on May 19, 2018, and I’m excited to say it’s a story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world.
All thanks to babies and those darn tablets.