Kenneth Bennett, author of Exodus 2022, answered a few questions about his new book, a science fiction novel focusing on the environmental problems of the Pacific.
Joe Stanton is in agony. Out of his mind over the death of his young daughter. Or so it seems.
Unable to contain his grief, Joe loses control in public, screaming his daughter’s name and causing a huge scene at a hotel on San Juan Island in Washington State. Thing is, Joe Stanton doesn’t have a daughter. Never did. And when the authorities arrive they blame the 28-year-old’s outburst on drugs.
What they don’t yet know is that others up and down the Pacific coast—from the Bering Sea to the Puget Sound—are suffering identical, always fatal mental breakdowns.
With the help of his girlfriend—the woman he loves and dreams of marrying—Joe struggles to unravel the meaning of the hallucination destroying his mind. As the couple begins to perceive its significance—and Joe’s role in a looming global calamity—they must also outwit a billionaire weapons contractor bent on exploiting Joe’s newfound understanding of the cosmos, and outlast the time bomb ticking in Joe’s brain.
Author Interview: Kenneth Bennett
Kenneth G. Bennett is the author of the young adult novels, THE GAIA WARS and BATTLE FOR CASCADIA, and the new sci-fi thriller, EXODUS 2022. A wilderness enthusiast who loves backpacking, skiing and kayaking, Ken enjoys mysteries, science fiction, action adventure stories and, most especially, novels that explore the relationship between humans and the wild. He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son and two hyperactive Australian Shepherds.
THE GAIA WARS series was optioned for film by Identity Films, LA in 2012, and both GAIA and BATTLE have been featured as Top 100 Bestsellers in Teen Literature and Fiction on Amazon. Kirkus Reviews called THE GAIA WARS “A solid first entry of a promising, imaginative new young-adult fantasy series featuring a well-crafted character.”
How did you come up with the idea of your book?
The idea came from a combination of things: I read an article animal intelligence. The article talked about how researchers are discovering that many animals have far greater cognitive ability than previously believed. That got me wondering about genius among animals. Does it ever happen? I was also thinking about environmental degradation– what humans are doing to the planet. The ideas merged into a concept for a story.
What were some of your inspirations for the main characters?
The characters in the book are completely made up but the protagonist and his girlfriend are inspired by all the courageous, brave, self-sacrificing people I’ve met in my life.
Is any of the book inspired by true events or people? If so, what made you decide to change the reality into science fiction?
Some of the references in the book concerning environmental damage are real (the Texas-sized mass of plastic debris in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, for example) but the story is completely made up.
Many people (including myself) find writing a book intimidating and somewhat impossible. What made you begin writing, and how did you continue to stay on track to finish Exodus 2022? Do you have any quirky writing rituals or superstitions?
I learned from my first two books, THE GAIA WARS and BATTLE FOR CASCADIA, that I have to write every single day or I lose my enthusiasm and momentum. For EXODUS 2022 I really tried to adhere to a daily schedule. Even if I could only write 500 words on a given day, at least it was forward progress and I could sleep at night.
What’s your favorite genre, and what caused you to write a science fiction novel?
I like a lot of different genres including thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, legal thrillers, etc, but am probably most drawn to sci-fi thrillers. I’ve always loved science, I read scientific publications for fun and seek out articles about the latest scientific advancements. I believe you have to have a passion for the genre you’re working in and I’ve always had that for science and science fiction. I also love fantasy and a lot of my favorite books are a blend of science fiction and fantasy.