An ''historical cli-fi'' novel titled YONGALA by Australian storyteller Guy Lane -- AN INTERVIEW
Dan Bloom at Cli-fi.net: Why did you decide to call the title of yr novel as it is titled?
GUY LANE: Yongala is the name of the ship that the story is set on. Today, it is a shipwreck that has about 10,000 divers visit it every year. I have gone to great lengths to accurately describe the ship and help the audience feel at home on her. The story my homage to the S. S. Yongala and it was only fitting to keep her name on the title.
Yongala is an Aboriginal word originally, meaning ''estuary.'' It is athe name of a small town in South Australia that features in the story. That's the town where Corben Plath and Melvin Possner came from.
Dan Bloom at Cli-fi.net: Who is the addressed to in terms of age group? Is it mostly for Australian readers or global readers.?
GUY LANE: It's a story for an international audience. People from coastal Queensland may recognise the name of the ship as it has some history here. It is also a story for young girls, teens, encouraging them to save the planet by being clever.
Dan Bloom at Cli-fi.net: What is the main time frame of the novel? Past present or future and why?
GUY LANE: The story takes place over five days in March 1911. This is from the day before Yongala departed Brisbane to the morning after her loss. The story is set a few years after Svante Arrhenius release the book Worlds in the Making, in which he described how doubling atmospheric CO2 would increase average temperatures on Earth by 4 degrees Celsius. These numbers are consistent with contemporary climate models. This goes to show how robust is climate science. This is the core theme that I wanted to pass to the audience, that we have understood the climate science for a long time.
Dan Bloom at Cli-fi.net: What inspired or motivated you to personally want to write and publish this novel?
GUY LANE: I have been involved in sustainability since 2000 and always looking for ways that I can contribute to the conversation. I have dived on Yongala (amazing) and have a love of ships and the ocean. In its first form, it was a 5-page feature film treatment. Later, I wrote the screenplay (95 pages). A film producer friend estimated that it would cost about A$30 million to make a motion picture. I adapted the screenplay into the novel, seeking to get an audience for the story. Then to find a producer.
Dan Bloom at Cli-fi.net: Would call this a 'cli-fi' novel? Why or why not?
GUY LANE: I think that 'cli-fi' is a suitable genre, maybe ''historical cli-fi''.
Dan Bloom at Cli-fi.net: Have you heard of the cli-fi term and if so how did you first hear about it? And what is your opinion of the term? Can it serve as a platform for novelists to tell climate themed stories? When you started yr book did you know the cli-fi term already or did that come later?
GUY LANE: I have known of cli-fi genre for a while. I'm actually not much into genre as a writer, I just tell stories and let other people figure out what the genre is.
Dan Bloom at Cli-fi.net: Who is yr target audience in terms of age group? Who do you most want to reach?
GUY LANE: Target audience is anyone who likes a good sea tale. Again, I don't write for an audience, I just tell stories. The audience will find the book. Having said that, I would like juvenile females to read the book as it could help shape their views towards environment at an early age. Felicity Cumberland is a good role model, I think. She is smart and sassy and doesn't back down.
Dan Bloom at Cli-fi.net: Any statement you want to make about writers and climate change?
GUY LANE: All of my novels are based around sustainability themes. I think that the opportunity exists for fiction writers to help normalise the conversation about the planet. Most people know more about forensics than climate change, because they read so many crime novels.
GUY LANE adds: The novel is currently available for free and I invite readers to comment, or leave a short review. And also, to join the Guy Lane mail list. They can also read Intervene for free if they join the mail list.
Yongala webpage: http://www.guylane.com/