Today I am interviewing Antonia Honeywell, debut author of the new speculative fiction novel, The Ship.
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DJ: Hey Antonia! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Antonia Honeywell: Hello DJ – it’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me. I’m a British writer, thrilled that my first novel is making the trip across the Atlantic and hoping that one day I’ll get to follow in person. As well as writing, I bake, make jam, teach, play piano and sing in an award-winning barbershop chorus. And I drink a lot of tea.
DJ: What is The Ship about?
Antonia: The Ship is about a world in collapse, and a girl trying to find her future. Lalla Paul’s father is wildest-dreams wealthy, and he knows he cannot keep his daughter safe in a world that’s falling apart, so he buys a huge luxury cruise ship and stocks it not only with food, but with art materials and sports equipment and the digital contents of every library, museum and art gallery in the world. He finds 500 worthy people – good, kind, loving people – and offers them sanctuary on the ship in return for providing a nurturing environment in which his daughter can grow up. However, he doesn’t make allowances for the fact that his sixteen-year old daughter might just have ideas of her own, and that she, alone on the ship, may have questions he doesn’t want to answer.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Ship?
Antonia: I read a lot, so it’s hard to tease out exactly what’s influenced me, but I love the work of Margaret Atwood and the way that she uses speculative futures as a meditation on the state of the world. I read and loved John Wyndham, John Christopher and Ursula le Guin growing up, and their alternative universes, in which I found my own thoughts and feelings reflected, have stayed with me. I read a great deal of non-fiction, too, and am fascinated by the way that repressive regimes have risen and taken over democratic systems all over the world, throughout history. It’s too easy to sit back and ask, ‘How could people let that have happen?’ It’s much harder to interrogate ourselves and our own influence upon the times into which we’re born. Continue reading