Guest Post: Shari Lopatin

Title: The Apollo Illusion
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.
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 
I ditched the novel I couldn’t finish and started writing this one. A year later, in September 2014, I finished my first draft of The Apollo Illusion.
 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.

 Shari Lopatin tells stories that matter. An award-winning journalist, she writes complex and stimulating suspense novels that tie into modern-day social issues. Her debut novel, “The Apollo Illusion,” is releasing May 19, 2018. Learn more at, or pre-order your digital copy for just $2.99 from Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble (Nook), or Smashwords. Want a print copy? Sign up for The Readers Club to be notified the moment they become available!


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