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DJ: Hi Aliya! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Aliya Whiteley: Hi, and thanks for hosting me! I write mainly speculative fiction that can include science fiction, fantasy, horror and the weird, as well as literary fiction every now and again.
DJ: What is The Beauty about?
Aliya: It’s about the end of the human race. A disease has killed all the women, and the men are living out their lives with no hope. In one small community in rural North Devon, one of the youngest men notices strange mushrooms sprouting on the graves of the women. Then these mushrooms start to take on familiar forms…
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Beauty?
Aliya: John Wyndham’s ability to evoke growing strangeness was a huge influence, as was Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy. I’ve always loved post-apocalyptic tales, so that whole genre was floating around in my mind.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Aliya: Nathan, the young man who first discovers the mushrooms, is a storyteller, and he really loves his job. He tries to keep the memories of the women alive for their husbands, fathers, sons, but he is aware that his stories keep changing. He can’t help it. When he starts to tell the group about the mushrooms, he uses his way with words to influence them, and this creates tensions that lead to violence. He’s a very slippery narrator! Readers have to make their own decisions about the morality of his actions. Continue reading