Although the future UK cut off from the rest of the world and ravaged by environmental disasters that I’ve envisaged in my novel now seems very much like the one we are living in today, when I first had the idea for this book in 2012 the world was a different place. Although austerity Britain was in place, Brexit had never been heard of. Climate change wasn’t on everyone’s radar like it is now after the Extinction Rebellion protests and activists such as Greta Thunberg raising the alarm about how urgent things are. So it was strange to be editing it and watching many of the things I had predicted for our future starting to come true.

Remember Tomorrow

Remember Tomorrow

The original inspiration came from a character that appeared in my mind (which is how all my novels so far have started) - a herbalist, living in a future that was more like the past. The techno future filled with AI robots and self-driving cars that so many people predict hadn’t come to pass. Instead we had reverted to medieval conditions and superstitions and this character, who became Evie when I wrote the book, was being persecuted for witchcraft.

For a while, I wasn’t sure why her world was like this but as I have been working as a freelance environmental sustainability journalist for many years, the two slowly started to come together in my mind. Then I knew that Evie’s world was a direct consequence of climate change and consumerism. For superstitions like this to resurface, the community she lived in needed to be isolated and much more primitive than the one we live in now.

The setting for the novel, Woody Bay, is a real place close to where I live in Exmoor. I walk there often and it is completely cut off. To get there you have to walk down a long, dead end track that winds down a cliff. The beach at the bottom seems untouched by modern life. Huge cliffs rear up all around, massive boulders are strewn across the sand and pebbles, there’s no mobile signal and no signs of modernity, so it does feel a bit like you’ve gone back in time when you are there. There are a few houses scattered around on the cliff face and it was easy to imagine a community living there and slowly imploding as times became harder and food more scarce.

So that was where the story started, with Evie living by herself in a tiny community that is ostracising her and starting to become dangerous. My writing process means that I only very loosely plot a novel before starting, so much of it is revealed to me as I write. I knew how the story began, the major plot points throughout and how it ended, but it wasn’t until I started to write the first draft that I discovered that it was Evie’s grandson leading the persecution and that he was planning to kill her.