I’m glad I’ve been given an opportunity by the Authors’ Lounge to say a little about my novel, Need to Want. Any fiction book is a vehicle for two-way communication between the writer’s and the reader’s minds and hearts.
The writer puts down on paper their own thinking, feelings, and imagination related to some issues, happenings, human nature, or the world, which have touched their soul in a deeper way. The reader develops their own thinking and feelings about what the text presents, from their own angles and colored by their own imagination. Through that interaction, the outcome of the text can be further expanded and enriched, although indirectly and invisibly. That’s why any interface enabling symbolic contact between authors and their readership is needed and important.
What is your book all about?
My book Need to Want describes the world after the lack of food and drinking water, wars, killings, and diseases has brought the human population near to extinction. The story begins with two couples who miraculously cross the ocean and reach a remote, small island. Believing they are the last people on Earth and living as in the Stone Age, they try to preserve humanity and re-start a new civilization from scratch.
In the process, they face some hard questions. What’s the point of living, the main sense of human existence? Are people fulfilled when their basic needs are met, or do they inevitably strive to possess ever more and more? Do the greed and selfishness of individuals defeat the higher interests of the community? Can hunger for power make individuals dismiss ethics, empathy, and even family ties? The novel indirectly signals some possible answers, but I hope it also stimulates the readers to search for their own answers to these and other associated questions.
What inspired you to write the book?
The inspiration for the topic is all around us, here and now! People only need to see it, instead of closing their eyes and comfortably living in denial. We’ve overpopulated the planet already and brought it to its knees through the never-satisfied greed of modern civilization, purposely nurtured through promotion of excessive consumerism.
We’ve largely destroyed nature, caused the climate to become chaotic and destructive, exhausted natural resources, and neared toward a nuclear war over the last remnants of resources even though this can erase humanity entirely. Yet, we don’t do anything, or we do far too insufficiently, to stop that trend. We don’t agree to consume less and allow nature to keep itself alive self-sustainably.
We don’t accept living more modestly today, so our children and grandchildren could have some, any life tomorrow. Yes, we keep on verbally claiming something must be done about it, but in fact, we’re all only waiting for somebody else to do it, to make sacrifices instead of us. I think we should wonder whether humans carry some deeply rooted self-destructive streak, which impels us to not stop as we walk into the abyss with our eyes wide open.
What is your target audience for the book?
I believe this novel is mainly a read for thinking and aware people interested in the big picture and more fundamental issues of humanity. One reader even commented something like: “…a great read, but don’t read it at bedtime, you won’t sleep afterwards…”. Perhaps that shouldn’t be taken literally, but the truth is – reading this book requires the reader’s engagement.
But then, personal interest is, or should be, a living creature, so even if somebody isn’t keen on serious topics now, they might become interested tomorrow if they try them – we should expand ourselves by getting beyond our perceived comfort zone. This book is, online and in reviews, labelled as science fiction/dystopia, which I understand but don’t agree with necessarily. For me, the book is literary fiction describing something that doesn’t yet exist, but quite possibly will in the future. Therefore, I would rather call it futuristic fiction – but nobody asks me, of course!
What do you hope readers could get out from your book?
I have no slightest wish that anybody should feel about it identically as I do. Nevertheless, I hope people will, after reading this book, think more about the state of today’s world and our civilization. I hope the writing affects the reader for the better. If the reader remained flat and indifferent, that would be a failure for me.
What are your future goals/plans for the book?
I hope this book will keep expanding its readership as much as possible. I don’t care for the sales/profit in the slightest but I’d love it if the main messages from the novel, said or implied, reach as many people as possible. For the sake of the planet and humanity!
Add something more about yourself.
I’m a novelist and a retired university professor. I grew up and completed my education in Serbia and worked at two universities there. Later, I went abroad and worked as an academic and scientist at different universities and research institutes, including tenured positions in the UK and New Zealand and visiting fellow in Denmark, Italy, and USA. I’ve enjoyed creative writing all my life as a hobby, but over the past decade,
I finally turned to full-time writing novels. So far, I’ve published six novels – all in both English and Serbian, and all in both paperback and e-book (Kindle) formats. Overall, I’ve lived in constant motion between the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Serbia for most of my adult life. My wife Sheryl (she’s a New Zealander) is a microbiologist and English language editor, and my only son Veljko is an architect and lives with his family in London (UK).