Wednesday, 11 March 2020

A fantastic guest blog from Tom Huddleston - Author of "FloodWorld" and "DustRoad" with five things that inspired the FloodWorld series

FloodWorld and Dust Road by Tom Huddleston (published by Nosy Crow)
It's not often we let anyone else wrestle the controls of the good ship "ReadItDaddy" off us, but we're prepared to make exceptions for folk whose books completely blow us away. So step forward Tom Huddleston, author of the truly stunning "FloodWorld" (which was a previous Book of the Week on this very blog) and the sequel "DustRoad" - once again putting fantastic, gripping post-apocalyptic storytelling firmly back on the map.

Tom is here to talk about five things that directly inspired the "Floodworld" series, so without further ado, let's get under way! Take it away, Tom!

Five Things That Inspired the FloodWorld Series

My action-adventure story FloodWorld and its sequel DustRoad are set far in the future, after climate change has caused the oceans to rise, drowning the world’s great cities. The story was influenced by countless books and stories that I’ve enjoyed over the years - but I had lots of other inspirations, too.

Here’s a list of five less obvious things - from photos and songs to holidays and school strikes - that had a big impact on the writing of FloodWorld and DustRoad.

The place

I’m lucky enough to have an aunt who lives in Venice, which means I can take a low-cost trip whenever I want to one of the most extraordinary cities on earth.

The waterways of Venice were a huge influence on the sunken suburbs of London in FloodWorld - all the noise and activity and colour. Because Venice may be a tourist destination but it’s also a working city - you see police boats and ambulance boats, skiffs loaded with crates for delivery or piled up with rubbish. Spending time there made the world I was imagining feel much more real.

The event

When I was working on the later drafts of FloodWorld, kids across the world started walking out of school in protest against government inaction on climate change. I grew up in a family where protesting was the norm - we marched against nuclear weapons, inequality and the poll tax. So I found the school strikes really inspiring - they gave me new determination to make FloodWorld as good as it could be, to offer a clear vision of what could happen to the world if we don’t pay attention.

The song

The closest thing to a villain in the FloodWorld books is John Cortez, a Mariner pirate captain who believes that his vision for the world is the only right way for humanity. For the first few drafts of the book, Cortez was named Lars Olson - which, I gradually realised, is a rubbish name for a bad guy. The song Cortez the Killer by Neil Young is actually about the brutal Spanish conquistador Herman Cortez, but the mood is so grand and oceanic, and the opening lines fit so perfectly with FloodWorld, that I decided to steal the name:

‘He came dancing across the water,

With his galleons and guns.

Looking for the new world…’

The road trip

I’ve always loved travelling in America, and a few years ago I took a coast-to-coast road trip from Houston to Los Angeles with my partner Rosie and our friend Tom, across the deserts of West Texas, past the Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon to California.

When I came to write DustRoad I drew on the memory of that trip, weaving many of the real places that we visited - Johnson Space Centre, the VLA radio telescope, the shores of the Salton Sea - into the story I was telling. DustRoad takes place centuries from now, but it’s built on real experiences.

The photograph

This image comes from a 2016 documentary film called Homo Sapiens, which imagines a world after humanity has gone extinct. I must admit that I haven’t even seen the film, but I saw this image online and it really sparked my imagination - so much so that I put a sunken rollercoaster into DustRoad.

I’ve always loved ruined, rusted places, they’re haunting and strange and exciting all at the same time. That’s how I feel when I look at this picture.


Truly fascinating stuff from Tom and these images are amazing. Thank you so much for joining us on the blog today. Look out for our review of "DustRoad" coming up on the blog soon. VERY soon.

"FloodWorld" and "DustRoad" by Tom Huddleston are both available now, published by Nosy Crow (kindly supplied for review). 

Don't forget to check out all the other awesome folk joining in with this blog tour!