Donna Fasano
Donna Fasano asked Helen Smith:

I read and loved The Miracle Inspector. How did you become interested in writing dystopian fiction? And are you plotting more dystopian books for the near future?

Helen Smith Donna, thanks for reading The Miracle Inspector. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I'm really proud of that book. It's my only attempt at writing dystopian fiction and, although there are some funny lines in it, it's bleaker than my other books.

I had been volunteering in London as a writing mentor with exiled writers who were survivors of torture. Obviously the experience affected me. I wondered what I would do if I had to flee my home. Where would I go, who would help me, who could I trust? I decided to set a book in the near-future in an England that had been partitioned. London is an oppressive place where women aren't free to work outside the home. A young married couple, Lucas and Angela, decide to escape from the city... with disastrous consequences. I hoped that after reading the book, readers might ask themselves similar questions to the ones I had started with.

There is very little information in the book about what brought England to this sorry state. I wanted readers to speculate, based on their own fears about the worst that might happen to their country in the space of a generation. I mention a revolution that Lucas's father was involved in. I was thinking that readers might draw comparisons to the revolution in Iran when the Shah was deposed. The people involved in that revolution obviously hoped that the situation in their country would improve, but it got worse.

A few readers have asked if I have considered write a prequel to The Miracle Inspector. Actually, I would love to do that. I have the book plotted. The story follows three main characters - Lucas's father, his mother and a poet called Jesmond who appears in The Miracle Inspector - and their involvement in the revolution in England.

I hope I will get the chance to write this. I have two other standalone books that I would also like to write. I just need to pick which project I should work on next.

Thanks for asking the question. I appreciate it. Knowing that you liked my book means a lot to me, too. Thank you!

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