Please join me in welcoming debut author, Hannah Hopkins to Tessa Talks Books. In this post, Hannah explains the inspiration for her recently released novel, Space Academy, that has been described as a SciFy Hogwarts. So much fun!
What Inspired Me To Write Space Academy
by Hannah Hopkins
The idea behind Space Academy came to me in waves. In 2014, I had a dream about the Vacuous- the strange and terrifying alien creatures that torment the four main characters in the book. The dream was so vivid, and I was shaken by the frightening appearance of the hollow, empty beings. The first draft I ever wrote revolved around Elsie, Austin and Alfie, the young twenty-somethings who encounter the Vacuous at university and attempt to discover the truth behind their origins. Although this part of the story makes it into the final cut, I didn’t add the premise of humanity fleeing the Earth until later, the character of Elsie taking on a motherly instead of being the protagonist and handing the POV over to her son, Will.
The main reason behind this change was the events of my own life, which led me to become a young mother solely responsible for the upbringing of my son. A lot of my anxiety about the state of the world and the helplessness I felt about certain issues was poured into the book, forming a sort of escape fantasy. It was important for me to keep hope at the centre of the plot, and for the narrative to progress in an uplifting and enjoyable way, whilst keeping the essential elements of fear, corruption and the destruction of our world as relevant themes.
The overall effect is that we see a group of teenagers who are bright and optimistic, dealing with all the usual coming-of-age issues in a futuristic and surreal setting. The relatability of the characters is untainted by the fact they are living on a spacecraft in the year 2113 and journeying to a new planet. Their humanity is very much still in-tact, and their desire for love and friendship remains at the heart of their stories. It was not my intention to put the resilience of the human spirit as one of the themes of Space Academy, but it is definitely present- a happy accident for somebody who is truly astounded by our ability as humans to keep going and to find joy in the darkest situations.
I set out to create something light-hearted and entertaining, with depth and warmth at its core. I did not expect to touch on so many issues in the narrative, the fun concept of learning about aliens and how to fly rockets at school overshadowing the quieter and more sensitive components of the story in my own mind. I was pleasantly surprised with the final product; the accessibility of the characters giving a sense of realism in such a fantastical plot and setting. It helps the readers to imagine they are there- living aboard The Mayflower and attending the Space Academy- when they can visualize people like them in the same scenario. The story has both heart and imagination, and I hope my readers enjoy the outcome of my inspirations as much as I enjoyed writing it! Space Academy is full of surprises, and what you see is not necessarily what you get. It defies expectations, and for that, it is something I am incredibly proud of.
About Space Academy
It’s the year 2100. Earth is dying. A young woman, Elsie, has risked everything to get her newborn son, Will, aboard ‘The Mayflower’ – a spaceship that will transport a select number of people to a new planet they can call home. Elsie’s luck takes a turn when she discovers the captain of ‘The Mayflower’ is an old friend. He allows her to board with her son, giving them a place on the luxurious Floor One, where they live amongst the most honoured of ‘The Mayflower’s’ passengers.
Thirteen years later, and Will is ready to start school at Space Academy, an institute specialising in subjects such as Alien Studies, Technology, and Rocket Control. While a pupil there, Will starts to uncover secrets about his father’s death, becoming wrapped in a mystery that he and his friends must solve if they are to have any hope of saving humanity from the threat that lies in wait.
Lose yourself in this brilliantly addictive novel as it takes you on a journey through the stars. But be warned – you might be surprised by what you find.
About the Author
In 2017, Hannah Hopkins released a self-published novel entitled ‘The Split’; the story of four teenagers navigating life after Earth as they journey through space to a new planet. Two years later, the book was picked up by ‘The Conrad Press’ and re-vamped as ‘Space Academy,’ with a new cover, new title and new additions to the story. ‘Space Academy’ was released in 2020, kickstarting Hannah’s career as a writer.
Hannah is currently busy writing a historical fiction novel with a feminist twist. She spends the rest of her time working at a University and caring for her two young children in the UK.
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