I had a strange experience with life imitating art while writing Octavia Seven.
Octavia Seven is my time-travel romance about Octavia, an anthropologist from the 23rd century who travels back to our time. Her mission was to study life in our day before a killer virus wipes out humanity, leaving very few survivors. She was supposed to just conduct a few studies then return to her own time before the pandemic starts. But of course in fiction it can never be that simple, and she meets Jake, falls in love, and that’s when things start to get complicated for her. Jake can’t return with her, and she can’t stay with a killer virus on the way…
The real thing is never as much fun as fiction
I finished the first draft well before Covid-19, long before there was any hint of the real pandemic that was about to hit us in 2020.
I set the manuscript aside for a bit, fully intending on going through it a couple more times before sending it off to my proof-reader.
However, before I could finish the manuscript and get it to my proof-reader, Covid arrived and a real pandemic started sweeping the world. In those early days of covid, we had no idea how bad it may get, but as the bodies started piling up I lost all interest in my story, and I stopped working on it.
A bit too close to home
In my fictional story, I even had the virus starting in China. It was a bit too close to home, and I dropped the project, not knowing if I would ever finish it.
During those first few months of covid it felt like we were living in some kind of sci-fi plot, and I lost all interest in apocalyptic movies and fiction, because, well, it felt like we were really in one.
We got through it, and thankfully it didn’t turn out to be an apocalypse. Last year things started to get back to something more akin to normalcy, and over time I was able to gain some perspective on Octavia Seven.
I dusted off the story and got back to work on the manuscript. I really loved the characters and the story and felt like it was worth publishing, so I finished my re-writes and sent it off to my editor for proof-reading.
But I made some edits to the ending.
Who needs an apocalypse? They’re really not all that much fun…
I’m really not a fan of apocalyptic fiction any more. We have grandkids – I won’t tell you how many because the overall number is a bit ridiculous, but let’s just say we have several adorable grandkids who are still pretty little. Four of them are five and under. The thought of them picking through the ruins of a devastated Earth, scavenging to survive and hunting rats for their next meal, absolutely horrifies me. Only people who don’t have kids could possibly enjoy writing that kind of garbage.
So after living through Covid, I re-wrote the ending of Octavia Seven. It’s now a time-travel story about how love can change history for the better.
I’m a huge fan of happy endings. Who needs bad endings that leave you depressed? If I wanted to be depressed, I can read CNN for that.
You’ll likely need some cookies while reading your favorite fan-fiction. My favorite chef, Jenn Segal, has some fantastic cookie recipes. Check out her website here. Go and bake some before sitting down to read.