“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The best part about I&I posts? Writers are given free rein so they can go wild and write about anything they want: their new book, series or career as a whole.
Today’s guest is Tracy Deebs, author of YA books in the Tempest series, The International Kissing Club (as Ivy Adams), and of forthcoming urban fantasy novel Soulbound (the first in the Lone Star Witch series). Tracy is also the author of newly released YA cyber-action thriller, Doomed, in which a girl named Pandora clicks a link that plunges the entire world into a panic, counting down to doomsday.
Here to talk about the books, films and video games that inspired Doomed, please give it up for Tracy!
I don’t know that any books or films actually inspired Doomed, but I am a huge Matrix fan. I love pretty much everything about that movie, particularly the discussion of man’s dependence on machines and how that was turned around on us in such an interesting way. The title, Doomed, is a shout out to Doom, the first major MMO. But the main inspiration for Doomed was obviously the Pandora’s Box myth, mixed with a bunch of stuff that was happening around the time I was writing it.
Not long before I started working on Doomed, the U.S. government released Stuxnet, a worm/blended threat that attacked Iran’s nuclear program (it was conceived by Bush and implemented by Obama because Bush was out of office by the time the worm was actually designed). It was a new type of worm, one that no one had ever seen before but that was so powerful it changed the face of cyberwarfare forever. While Stuxnet was designed with a self-destruct date as well as major precautions to ensure that it didn’t jump from one system to another, the fact of the matter is, Stuxnet was first found in an operating system in Russia (far from Iran). From there, it was traced to numerous other systems around the globe—including the servers of American company, Exxon. And once it was out in the world, access to it increased. It was originally mapped by experts in computer malware in both Germany and Florida, and now this mapping is easily accessible to a lot of different parties. Which means that America has already had to thwart more than one attack from a Stuxnet type worm aimed at us since its implementation and mapping.
Experts all over the computer industry and in national security are warning that the threat from cyberwarfare/cyberterrorism is more serious than any other threat out there right now, and so much of it can be traced back to Stuxnet’s inception. The idea of this new worm, which could bring down control systems and affect hardware in a way we’ve never seen before, both fascinated and horrified me. What would happen if it did get through? What would happen if we missed an attack? How would our society start to crumble? This is the root of my inspiration for Doomed.
At the same time, the Arab Spring was happening in the Middle East and the Egyptian government managed to take their entire country off-line. This astonished the world and freaked out a lot of people and governmental agencies who had never really believed such a thing was possible. Again, once we knew it could be done, it opened all kinds of murky doors that probably should have been shut. This, too, played a part in how I chose to write Doomed.
And finally, Fukishima happened — the tsunami that caused the Nuclear Power plant leak. I did a ton of research on the flawed design that allowed that to happen, found out that the design exists in numerous nuclear power plants around the world and that in a lot of cases the people who built them knew the design was flawed and had the potential to leak/meltdown in a case like that, but went ahead and built them anyway because they were more cost efficient.
Add in a late night movie marathon that included watching The Matrix and Live Free or Die Hard, playing a bunch of MMOs (World of Warcraft, Dragons of Atlantis, Wizard 101 with my middle kidlet) and reading Cory Doctorow’s For the Win, a brilliant look at MMOs, gaming and third world sweat shops where children play twenty hours a day to harvest gold for first world players, and the Smart 2020 study which explains how pollution from our cellphones will surpass pollution from air travel by the year 2020, and the idea for Doomed was born.
Thanks so much for having me today!
About the Author:
Tracy Deebs collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. From the first page of that first book, she knew she’d found her life-long love. Now a writing instructor at her local community college, Tracy writes YA novels that run the gamut from dark mermaids and witches to kissing clubs and techno-Armageddon stories… and she still has a soft spot for Judy Blume.
Thank you, Tracy!