“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, we are thrilled to be a part of the blog tour celebrating the release of Stung, the new novel from YA author Bethany Wiggins.
Here to talk about her Inspirations & Influences for her post-apocalyptic YA science fiction novel, please give it up for Bethany, folks!
First of all, thank you so much for having me on The Book Smugglers today!
Now, you asked why I chose the downfall of the world—the apocalypse—by way of bees. It was a simple choice, really. I wanted to write something that could happen tomorrow, a social or scientific or political issue that was really, truly affecting us as the human race. I already had the first chapter of Stung all figured out (thanks to a nightmare), and I just needed that other puzzle piece to fall into place.
I remember sitting down one day with an issue of Discover Magazine, which focused on the declining honeybees and honeybee colony collapse. It fascinated me! I’d heard of colony collapse before, but holding that magazine in my hands, it was like a puzzle piece slipped right into place and the link between my book and a real-life science/social issue came to life.
I started doing a lot of research on honeybee decline and genetic modification. Countries all over the world are genetically modifying all sorts of things. Israeli scientists genetically engineered bare-skinned chickens to save farmers large amounts of money on ventilation to prevent the chickens from overheating. Animals are being genetically modified to produce human proteins to help with medical problems. Scientists at Johns Hopkins genetically modified a mouse to have three times the muscle strength of non-modified mice. Our crops are being genetically modified to produce more. (Check out THIS fascinating link about genetic modification.) So, why not genetically modify bees? In fact, they probably already are!
So all I had to do was add the fiction to the fact. I started using simple imagination and “What if’s,” and came up with the idea of a genetically modified bee that had dire consequences on human beings.
If I am lucky, this book will open people’s eyes to the fact that there really is a threat to honeybees. I think it’s an important issue, one that more people need to be made aware of, and hopefully things for the honeybees will improve.
About the Author: Bethany Wiggins has always been an avid reader, but not an avid student. Seriously!!! She failed ninth grade English because she read novels instead of doing her homework. In high school, she sat alone at lunch and read massive hardback fantasy novels (Tad Williams and Robert Jordan anyone?). It wasn’t until the end of her senior year that the other students realized she was reading fiction–not the Bible
Seven years ago, Bethany’s sister dared her to start writing an hour a day until she completed a novel. Bethany wrote a seven-hundred page fantasy novel that she wisely let no one read–but it taught her how to write. Since then she has completed six more novels, each one a little better than the one before.
The fifth book she wrote, “SHIFTING,” is represented by Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency, and will be published by Walker Books September 27 2011!!!
Follow Bethany on twitter (@WiggB).
Thank you, Bethany!