A Different Kind of Idea

Jeanne Hull Godfroy Author Interview

Midgard follows a brilliant scientist as he looks for a way to prevent the downfall of humanity and keep humans alive. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The world of Midgard, which is set in the not-so-distant future—came almost naturally after I decided to try my hand at writing fiction. The breadcrumbs were there and had been there since I was young– I just needed a medium in which to bring them all together. The first “crumb” was in second grade, when my teacher told me that there was a hole in the sky, and, that if that hole continued to grow, my family and I would never be able to live outside again. That notion was terrifying to me, but I later learned that people had decided to stop using the pollutants that made the hole and that it had healed. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, I encountered 60s and 70s-era science fiction stories about the bad things that could happen if humans didn’t stop abusing the planet, and I was one of the first of my friends and family to see “An Inconvenient Truth” in the early 2000s. In 2017, I was reading Let my People Go Surfing (Yvon Chouinard) during a trip to Sonoma, California, when Robert Kamen himself joined us in his vineyard and put a word to what I had been thinking about “stewardship.” In the next couple of years, I read a lot more about climate change and global warming, including The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells, which was dense but fascinating. By then, however, I was tired of academic writing and lacked the energy and interest to explore yet another policy problem through non-fiction. A more fun read, however, was The Future We Choose, by two architects of the Paris 2015 agreement – Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnett. They present two fictional futures for the earth – one in which humanity bonds together to save the environment, and another in which it fails to do so – and the spark was lit for a different kind of idea. After the “closeted novelist” announcement, I put the pieces together and realized that I could learn and explore the consequences of overconsumption and poor stewardship through fiction, and have way more fun doing it.

Sam is brilliant and perhaps too trusting at the start, but he soon learns not to trust anyone. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

There were a couple of things that drove his character development. I knew I wanted his “superpower” to be his intelligence, and that his weakness was going to be a combination of social awkwardness and claustrophobia. One my editors early on suggested that the story read like a mystery, which is how I decided to make Sam a sci-fi “detective” of sorts. As I continued with my revisions, however, my revisions editor pointed out that Sam, my main character, was far too reactive, and that he needed more depth. Personality tests are a hobby of mine, and I happened to be reading about the enneagram test, I decided to assign him a “Type” – the best fit for what I was looking at was a “Type 5” or the “Investigators” – that type tends to be brilliant and inquisitive, but also a little too trusting or naive, and they tend to be more cerebral than physical. Using the enneagram really helped me understand how Sam would react or the types of actions he would take.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

There are three things I hope readers will take away from this book:

1) That we need to be better stewards of our habitat or we will fall victim to the worst aspects of human nature. (Note: I deliberately avoid the use of the worlds “climate change” or “global warming” in the book itself as well as during discussions I’ve had about it – those terms are politically and emotionally charged in current debate). I want to re-frame the topic as “environmental stewardship” and better stewardship of resources more generally – getting away from consumption culture and back to things that matter…before we lose all of it as a species.

2) That “talent” comes in many forms and that yours / theirs deserves to see the light of day, no matter what the rest of one’s family, society, or culture values

3) Writing a book is like having children – there’s never a good time! (e.g. I want to inspire others who, like me, wanted to write fiction but didn’t think they could!).

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am already working on the sequel to Midgard (which ends on a bit of a cliffhanger). The original ugly draft was about 80,000 words – as I went through the revisions process, my editor made me realize that writing the WHOLE story would make the book too long (and I would never get it finished before the final “pens down” deadline). I plan to publish the second book in early 2024 and, if all goes well, the third and final book in this series in sometime in 2026. (Ultimately, I would like to be able to become a full-time writer).

Author Links: GoodReads | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram | Website

The Earth is Dying. How would you choose who gets to live?

It is the mid-22nd century, a time in which humankind has reached a point of no return with respect to the destruction of its habitat on Earth. The only ray of hope is the Human Resiliency Program—a conglomeration of government sponsored efforts to preserve human life until such time as the Earth is able to recover. Unfortunately, the program’s projects are only capable of saving small, select members of the population, and the competition to assess into and remain in those programs is fierce.

Sam Richmond is one of the lucky few who has made it into one of these programs. However, his elation is short-lived as people close to him disappear, his headquarters is attacked, and he learns of a plot to selectively destroy nearly all remaining human life on the planet. Sam must unravel complex misinformation and find clues that will lead him to the source of the disappearances and the one person capable of salvaging civilization.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on October 18, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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