When I first read the blurb for Kenneth Bennett’s new book, Exodus 2022, I was instantly intrigued by its eeriness. I had no choice but to get onto the emails and ask him some questions.
Kenneth G. Bennett is the author of the young adult novels, THE GAIA WARS and BATTLE FOR CASCADIA, and the new sci-fi thriller, EXODUS 2022. A wilderness enthusiast who loves backpacking, skiing and kayaking, Ken enjoys mysteries, science fiction, action adventure stories and, most especially, novels that explore the relationship between humans and the wild. He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son and two hyperactive Australian Shepherds.
THE GAIA WARS series was optioned for film by Identity Films, LA in 2012, and both GAIA and BATTLE have been featured as Top 100 Bestsellers in Teen Literature and Fiction on Amazon. Kirkus Reviews called THE GAIA WARS “A solid first entry of a promising, imaginative new young-adult fantasy series featuring a well-crafted character.”
- Your new book Exodus 2022 sounds incredibly eerie. Tell us about Joe and his dilemma.
Exodus 2022 is the story of Joe Stanton, a young priest who begins suffering sudden, severe hallucinations while on vacation in the San Juan Islands of Washington State with his girlfriend. Others up and down the coast have suffered identical hallucinations and all have died. As the priest and his girlfriend begin to unravel the mystery of the voices in Joe’s mind—and what they mean for the future of the planet—they must also outwit a billionaire weapons contractor bent on exploiting Joe’s newfound understanding of the cosmos.
- Where did the idea come from? Did something influence your plot, or was it a sporadic thought?
I’d been reading about ecological catastrophe and then stumbled on some articles about animal intelligence and the surprising cognitive abilities of non-human species. The two topics came together to form the underlying concept of the book.
- I’ve read that you have two successful young adult novels to your name, how did it feel writing for an older audience? Did you go about things differently?
Thanks for asking. I learned a great deal writing my YA novels, THE GAIA WARS and BATTLE FOR CASCADIA, so I felt more experienced. More capable. But I didn’t write any differently—just tried to tell the story to the best of my ability, same as before.
- What is it that you like about the Science Fiction genre? What books of this genre inspire you and which ones do you think are often overlooked?
I enjoy science fiction because of the way it ignites my imagination and makes me consider possibilities I hadn’t considered before. The best sci-fi book I’ve read recently is Hugh Howey’s WOOL.
- Your antagonist in Exodus 2022 is a billionaire weapons contractor. (Without Spoilers) can you tell us why he is so interested in Joe’s problem and what makes him tick?
The billionaire weapons contractor Sheldon Beck is interested in Joe for two reasons. One reason is inexplicable at first—a sort of “voice” whispering in his mind. The second reason is that he gradually realizes that Joe could be the key to a vast untouched resource worth trillions of dollars.
- Apart from Joe, who was your favourite character from Exodus 2022 and why?
I’m very fond of the character Mia because of her unusual background and characteristics. She was a lot of fun to write.
- Do you think the Science Fiction genre is, perhaps, seen to be only suited to certain types of readers? Do you think the genre needs rejuvenating, and if so, how do you think this should be done?
The sci-fi genre is pretty vast and I believe there are science fiction books (and movies) out there to appeal to almost anyone. I think more readers who don’t normally go near sci-fi should give it a try. They might be pleasantly surprised.
- What book do you consider your guilty pleasure?
The REACHER books by Lee Child. I love those books. The whole series brilliant and well written.
- What is the hardest aspect of being an author?
Finding the time to write consistently, day in and day out, while also working full time and being involved with family.
There is also a fantastic giveaway on offer to celebrate this release! The prizes are:
1 Kindle Fire
15 signed paperbacks
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