Declan Milling [author spotlight]
I am so pleased to today have author Declan Milling on the blog, sharing his inspiration behind his new novel, Carbon Black, a fast-moving story of corruption and murder; definitely one to add to the TBR list!
It’s all part of Clink Street’s Blogival, which runs from 1- 30 June; find out more here.
So, over to Declan:
“There are two principal sources to which the inspiration behind Carbon Black can be attributed: firstly, the country of Papua New Guinea; and secondly, the issue of climate change and the role of the carbon market as a way of addressing it. Where they intersect provides the fertile ground for the story.
Papua New Guinea offers an extraordinary mix of elements as a background setting. The natural resources and biodiversity are amazing – ever heard of a poisonous bird? At least two types have been identified there! But it’s not just the variety and numbers of exotic bird and animal species: insects, spiders (including the huge bird-eating spiders), fish, coral and other species abound. Then there’s the timber, fishing and mineral resources.
But while these aspects of Papua New Guinea provide an important platform for the story, it’s not all just about the resources, the fauna and flora. The people, their customs, traditions and superstitions all add to the mix. Headhunters, sorcery and witchcraft are still prevalent.
Combine this with corrupt government officials, foreign criminals and conmen – operators on the lookout for deals – law and order problems – and throw in a health epidemic in the form of AIDS, for good measure, and the brew gets even headier. And stories abound. Cannibalism and the rituals of eating body parts of important persons.
Random acts of criminality by raskols (pidgin English for bad men), felling trees on remote roads to stop vehicles, rob and sometimes kill their occupants. The continuing adherence to cargo cult. The colourful expatriates who also contribute to this picture, as the reader of Carbon Black will discover: long term residents who have seen too much tropical sun and maybe just a little bit too much booze.
Secondly, climate change is a fact for all of us and has been the subject of fiction over the years through the cli-fi genre. These have been mainly disaster novels: Carbon Black seeks to break that mould and give climate change a different airing. The carbon market and its role in addressing climate change is a contentious subject of debate and in Carbon Black it sets the scene – the battleground between proponents and anti-market protesters.
The story draws on the international bureaucrats, governments and the resource developers for its protagonists. Areas of conflict between these parties abound: they’re all interested in climate change for one reason or another – either as climate change deniers and sceptics, or as scientists, or as professionals trying to make the carbon market work as a way of addressing the problem.
The intersection of these two sources of inspiration provides the foundation for the storyline and situation for Carbon Black. From the conference and trade fair at the start of the novel, to the climactic visit to the project sites at the end, these two elements are interwoven throughout Carbon Black.”
Carbon Black is available to buy now in paperback and kindle; visit Declan’s website and don’t forget to leave a review when you’ve finished the book! 🙂