David Thorpe has penned a crossover YA fantasy novel titled “[easyazon-link asin=”B00P1HYQOS” locale=”us”]Stormteller[/easyazon-link]” and by crossover I mean it’s for both young adults and adults. In a recent interview with Mr Thrope in Wales, where he has lived for more than 20 years, I found a man who writes not only to tell a good yarn but also to offer hope in a world that sometimes seems devoid of hope.
Thorpe is a true optimist. And with “Stormteller,” he has something important to import to his crossover audience of teens and adults: that one gains hope in the face of global problems like climate change by educating yourself and joining with others, and by doing everything you can to make a difference in your own life.
While the novel is a fantasy YA novel, with a climate theme mixed in for good measure but not the main theme, the book could be seen in the way that Huffington Post columnist Scott Thill defines cli-fi as a ”cultural prism” rather than a specific genre or marketing buzzword.
“It’s about survival,” Thorpe says of his book’s main lesson. “Survival is psychological as well as material. The way to avoid feeling a victim of events outside your control is to take initiatives, to seize the day. As the Michael Caine character says in the film ‘Interstellar’, “it’s time to stop thinking as individuals, but thinking together as a planet” — or something like that.”
Thorpe lives Wales, and the story in “Stormteller” is set in the region he has lived in for 20 years in mid-Wales, near the coast.
“I now live in south Wales, still a beautiful place,” he told Teleread by email. “I grew up in Nottingham, Robin Hood country. In mid-Wales I lived in a village called Taliesin that is named after Wales’ legendary bard (a word in this case meaning a combination of poet and shaman. Wales is the land of bards).”
Set in a landscape he knows well, having walked over much it himself over the years, Thorpe says Wales means a lot to him.
“I always felt when I moved to this edge of the British Isles from London that here, unlike most places, the skin of the present is thin: you can feel the vibrations from the past still reverberating down the centuries like thunder beneath your feet.”
Thorpe said that in terms of genre, his new novel is “a young adult novel with fantasy elements, because it includes these legendary, magical characters who are trying to influence the events in the story by taking over the main characters.”
“But they each have conflicting aims for the same characters. Only one of them may be successful in changing the outcome of their original myth, which they wish to escape,” he said.
When asked about the time frame of the novel, Thorpe said it’s set in 2030, some 15 years into the future. And the climate change theme is real, too.
“I do believe it is still possible for us to escape the worst ravages of climate change, but we must act together and quickly,” he said. “In my novel there is a group of people who anticipate these ravages and set up an eco-village. This eco-village is based on the research I did for another book which is being published at the same time titled ‘The One Planet Life’, about people who are trying now to live within the means of the planet. But in ‘Stormteller’ this eco-village does not survive because I think things will get a lot more desperate than we imagine.”
With the United States and China having recently made an agreement to cut emissions, which Thorpe sees as ”a great step forward,” the innovations needed to do this will make the world a better place, create jobs and make everyone healthier, he says.
“It is a great opportunity, not a burden,” Thorpe said of the U.S.-China accord.