O.M. Faure is the author of The Beautiful Ones, a trilogy that tackles the topic of overpopulation and its effect on the world in 2081. Published in June 2019, her futuristic thrillers have sold 25,000 copies so far and have reached: #1 in Dystopian Fiction, #1 in Action Adventure Travel, #1 in Political thrillers on Amazon’s best seller lists. Let’s chat with O.M. Faure, the author of the books which Paul Ehrlich called “A wild ride!”
Do you have any insight into what has compelled readers to read the book?
Although my writing has been called compelling by one reviewer, where possible I try not to compel but rather to entice my readers to pick up my books.
Joke aside, this is a very good question.
I think that perhaps one of the reasons that climate change and overpopulation in particular are difficult to get across to the wider public is because science and facts are usually dry and the vast majority of scientists are not charismatic public speakers accustomed to gearing their message towards the lay person.
On the other side of that, you have a general public whose gaze is constantly pulled in multiple directions and whose attention span is decreasing. With the never-ending narrative flow of streaming platforms and social media we are steeped in constant entertainment and our attention is glued to the immediate here and now.
The combination of these two factors makes it difficult for a message that relies on numbers and science to reach a public who doesn’t really want to know about next year, let alone fifty years from now. So, when I was trying to think of a way to reach people and share ideas with them, I thought that it would be more “compelling” if I wrapped the concepts in a layer of narrative, a thriller form, an entertaining story with relatable characters.
By meeting the readers half way, I hoped to have more of an impact and reach them emotionally. After all climate change and overpopulation will have dramatic consequences on people’s everyday lives, so if we can engage the readers’ imagination and empathy through narrative, perhaps we can trigger change while there is still time.
What were people’s responses and criticisms on the books and what were your thoughts on them?
I have to say that I have had mostly positive responses to the books.
I did receive comments from readers, often older, who question whether overpopulation is happening at all. Some have read studies that say fertility is decreasing, some worry that we’re heading towards a depopulation of the world. But even those who doubt my arguments about overpopulation usually make the effort to go through my bibliography.
So in a way, the novel nudged them towards my sources and encouraged them to look into their assumptions about population to check them. I’m glad to hear about these journeys because it means that my books reached their objective; to make readers think and talk about the overpopulation issue which too often has been considered taboo and distasteful to even discuss.
Do you get the sense that anyone has changed their view as a result of the book—is more concerned about over-population than they were when they began reading it—did it help clarify some of the potential scenarios for an over-populated world?
So far, most readers have come back to me saying that they had never thought about overpopulation and that the novels raised their awareness about the issue and its correlation to climate change. I definitely get the sense that people were significantly more aware and more concerned about overpopulation after reading my novels. One reviewer even called me a “whistle blower” and most of the emails I receive mention that the books made people think while never feeling too ‘hit-them-on-the-head-with-it’.
It’s interesting you should mention the word scenario, as this is what I am basing my novels on: the scenario planning methodology. The objective of scenario planning is not so much to predict the future but rather to give the client company a set of possibilities in which to project itself. You imagine what your company’s fate would be in future 1, 2 or 3 and then you devise a strategy for each of these futures and retain the elements of all three strategies that will bolster and protect the interests of the company no matter what ends up happening.
In this case, I tried to create “novelised” scenarios so individual readers could project themselves in a world rich with scents, colours and sounds. But the underlying objective is still the same: I want the reader to make robust decisions for their future.
The UN’s demographic forecasts are between a range of 9 and 16 billion humans on earth by 2100. Whether you believe scenario 1, 2 or 3 will come to pass, I think it’s fast becoming clear that we’re running out of clean air, water, forests and oceans. My books hopefully will help my readers to project themselves into the future, so that they can trigger change now to avoid these futures or at least prepare themselves with robust strategies that will work no matter what the future turns out to be.
What motivated you to write these books?
Have you ever had an overwhelming sense of powerlessness when you read the news?
I feel it all the time, especially in recent years where the onslaught of bad news has become relentless, I started to feel like the world was spinning out of control and there was nothing I could do about it.
You can vote every 4 or 5 years to try and nudge things in the right directions, but recently even that’s started to feel jeopardized with scandals related to foreign interference in elections, social media abuse and lobbies slowly eroding the ability of our democracies to represent the rights and best interests of its citizens.
So, in short, I was looking for a way to make a difference.
I believe each and everyone of us has the ability to bring about change through our actions, so I thought long and hard about how to do my part and in the end I settled on writing books because I believe that change can only happen through ideas.
What, if anything, was challenging for you to grapple with or think through while writing?
As a project manager with more than twenty years of experience in the finance sector, I was accustomed to writing non-fiction where my objective was to be as clear and factual as possible is as few words as possible.
Writing fiction is a very different skill, especially when you’re writing a thriller where you want to create suspense and hide some things in order to better reveal them later. So I had to learn how to write without spilling all the beans from page one.
But in all honesty, although I found my purpose in becoming an author and although I set out to do it for serious reasons, the journey and the process of writing has been a complete joy and there’s very little about it that I dislike, even the challenging aspects of it.
O.M. Faure’s books The Beautiful Ones trilogy are available on Amazon.com (free with Kindle Unlimited) and you can learn more about the futuristic world of the novels by joining the book club at www.omfaure.com