Today at Smart Girls we are happy to host Scot McPhie!
SGLSF: What books had an influence on you growing up?
As a young child I was mad about nature so it was mainly books to do with birds and amphibians – the kinds of animals I could expect to find as a kid. It was in my teenage years that I discovered science fiction novels. I remember 2001 A Space Odyssey and The Time Machine impressed me greatly.
SGLSF: What attracts you to the romance genre, particularly SF/futuristic romance?
I think they way we relate to each other and ourselves is really important and romance is such a great way to look at that – and I think it’s just lovely how people can love other people so much – so I like exploring that. In the context of sci-fi I love the universality of romance – one reviewer said the romance in The Forest of Life could have been set any time, it didn’t have to be in the future – and to me that’s a great compliment
SGLSF: What do you feel makes an engaging hero/heroine?
They have to be prepared to put their beliefs into action – and both my leads do ~ it means that something will happen and they will grow because of it – it’s also a good indicator that they’re trying to lead an honest and full life, which is a good thing too.
SGLSF: Where is your favorite place to write and why?
Early on I wrote a lot of the book on a farm by myself – that was many years ago and it was very good for concentration – but over the last few years most of it was written at home. I did write some of it in a food court at shopping centre (seriously!) – I’d just zone out under all the background noise and concentrate. But the very last passages of the book I wrote on my bed with my laptop and I felt free to let the emotions come out and type whatever there was, and I’d have to say that was my favourite place to write.
SGLSF: Please tell us a bit about your most recent project.
The Forest of Life is part romance, part sci-fi and there’s even a little bit of thriller in there too, but it’s also a very serious look at where we’re going on this planet. The story is set after the Ecocide where virtually all the plants and animals are extinct, and it’s about two young people struggling with their own relationship with each other, and trying to do something to turn the world around as well.
It actually took me 27 years to write, I started in 1989 and wrote for about 5 years – it was about 99% finished and then I put it away and came back to it after another 16 years. So over the last 6 years I rewrote large segments of it and updated the science predictions and gave it a new ending; and the book is much better for it.
And some fun questions…
SGLSF: What fictional technology do you think will become a reality in the next 50 years?
I actually spent a lot of time researching this kind of thing for my book. In the next 50 years I think there’ll be driverless networked cars, widespread use of maglev monorails, and artificially intelligent digital assistants (or Betties) as they’re called in the book. Looking further ahead (the book is set in the late 22nd Century) I think there’ll be quantum computers, DNA based computer drives with storage in the zetabytes, sub dermal computers that interface directly to people’s optic and auditory nerves, exouterine pregnancies – and if we don’t stop our destruction of the environment we’re definitely going to need organoprocessors and rebreathers just to keep us alive.
SGLSF: How would you prepare for an alien invasion?
With lots of Southern Comfort!
Earth at the end of the 22nd Century – population 12 billion with only 1 stand of environment left – walled off and protected from everyone. But life continues as normal – food is recycled, economies grow and space is explored.
A young 20 year old woman Michelle Holland leaves her home on the Moon for her new life on Earth and meets Matthew Finler a naïve and idealistic computer programmer. They fall in love and begin a tempestuous relationship – torn between a love for each other but radically different views on the world.
They struggle with this until Matthew discovers something that will change their life and the future of the entire world, if only they can prove it.
Part love story, part scarily prescient vision of the future The Forest of Life is a book that will move you like few others.