© John Keeble, On Edge Publishing, Cambridge, England
‘I have a horror of our species plundering the planet and killing its natural inhabitants’
What is the story behind Beyond Extinction?
The story of Beyond Extinction goes right to the center of who I am. On the surface, it is a 'good, enjoyable read', full of interesting characters. Some, like Max, the Golden Retriever, are completely lovable; some like Alice and Jack are the challenged lovers facing moral dilemma after moral dilemma; some, like the artificial intelligence phone Spartacus, are outrageous and funny; and some, like Galen, are fascinating in their complexity of desires and limitations. Underlying all this is my horror of complete species domination of the natural world: my empathy with animals suffering at the hands of our species, and my alarm at the plundering and wrecking of our planet. If you like an easy read, Extinction is there for you... if you want to see what I see, be alert to the story threads commenting on our world today and warning of the kind of world that future generations could inherit.
OK, so what is the Beyond Extinction story about?
It’s about a woman, a man and a golden retriever who are caught in the jaws of evolutionary conflict. They change as they change the world. They are propelled from pastoral England to a final showdown between compassion and science in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilisation. Meanwhile, the planet’s top scientist meets his nemesis, artificial intelligence phones drive everyone mad, and a quiet teacher leads a rebellion.
What drives you to write?
It's my way of helping the world get by. Showing the good, the bad and a way forward. Words are very important. They define the zeitgeist. They are always a battlefield and I am always ready to join on the side of the angels.
What are you working on next?
I am always working on multiple projects. Articles with social or animal content. Photography. I've been thinking about a blog for activist writing.
Who are your favorite authors?
John Le Carre for Cold War spying. Patricia Cornwell for her Kay Scarpetta investigations. Martin Cruz Smith for his Arkady Renko detective stories. Jasper Fforde for Thursday Next tales. Bernard Cornwell for his beautiful historical novels set in ancient Britain. Douglas Reeman for his WW2 Royal Navy stories.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
So much to do, so little time to do it 🙂 I don't need inspiring to get out of bed - life is wonderful and there and waiting...
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time? I've fallen in love. Wild, unconditional love. Adventurous and satisfying love. And we eat meals and drink beer afterwards. The object of my passion? Hiking! Hiking in the incredibly beautiful Andes in southern Ecuador. Every Saturday. Then cycling every Sunday morning. But writing is never far from my thoughts. A lot of my characters come along and we chat about story development. I say what I want. They gang up and make me write what they want to do.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember that "eureka" moment when the ability to write clearly clicked into place. It was six paragraphs, a review of a local amateur dramatics presentation. I was 17 and a trainee reporter in Ilford, now swallowed by east London, UK.
What is your writing process?
When they cut me in half, they'll find REPORTER written through me like BRIGHTON is written through sticks of rock. So, I go at a book project with enthusiasm and thoroughness, doing the research, assembling the idea, deciding what I want to say, and writing the story. I wrote Beyond Extinction on my now battered tablet, leaning against airport lounge walls, in bus stations, hotels by beautiful beaches, and (especially) in my favorite coffee place - Cafe Austria in downtown Cuenca, southern Ecuador. I like my laptop's big screen for editing. And I am never writing just one thing. It may sound odd, but multiple projects stimulate my creativity right up to the point where they fragment my brain.
Describe your desk
Any flat surface will do. Actually, any vertical surface to lounge against is okay if I'm using my tablet. I do have a desk of sorts and I've even been known to use it. The problem is clearing enough debris off it to find space to work.
oddballs, weirdos, writers, poets, artists & misfits
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