The Forest of Life

Earth at the end of the 22nd Century – population 12 billion with only 1 stand of environment left – walled off and protected from everyone. But life continues as normal – food is recycled, economies grow and space is explored.

A young 20 year old woman Michelle Holland leaves her home on the Moon for her new life on Earth and meets Matthew Finler a naïve and idealistic computer programmer. They fall in love and begin a tempestuous relationship – torn between a love for each other but radically different views on the world.

They struggle with this until Matthew discovers something that will change their life and the future of the entire world, if only they can prove it.

Part love story, part scarily prescient vision of the future The Forest of Life is a book that will move you like few others

This is the first novel that I wrote - it took 27 years!

I started in 1989 and worked on it for around 5 years. I'd almost finished it but honestly was close to a nervous breakdown, so I stopped and put it away.

16 years later I got it out again (around April 2010) and started the slow process of working through it. I rewrote large portions of it, mainly between 2014 and 16, and then published it in December 2016. It took quite a while but it's better for it!

It's a love story set in the future (towards the end of the 2100's). It looks at environmental collapse and the relationship between the two main characters.

To be honest I think it's a hard read - the two main characters are struggling in their relationship and the book's an analysis of their breakdown and a depiction of where the world is heading environmentally, and this one character's struggle to do something about it.

It's not everyone's cup of tea but the people who love it, really love it. And I'm still haunted by it at times - I'll be doing something, or being somewhere and it will feel like a scene out of the book and the future I imagined.

This picture was taken in about Feb 1989 - I started writing the book a few months later - probably around June - after Some Obscure Comedy Show was finished

~ This is a snippet of how I saw it back in July 1989 - I wrote a letter to a literary agent hoping to get some interest (ha ha!) - I didn't know it at the time but the agency had changed addresses so the letter was returned to me - here's the first part of the synopsis I wrote to them

I've got more from back then but I don't think I really want to go into it!

Anyway when I was finishing it up in 2014 and 2015 I picked some pretty weird places to write in - including...

...halfway down the Toowoomba Range
(in Redwood Park)

and a food court at a local shopping centre
tablet and keyboard with the handwritten version from 1989-90 (at the food court)
Back in the 90's my mother had typed up most of the original hand written stuff (thanks Mum!) on WordPerfect - but there was still a little more to type now, before I could work over it. I typed up some of it and then realised I could work quicker by dictating it into an online voice recognition system from google and then working over those files. It wasn't faultless, but it was quicker than typing. Pictured above is the original handwritten pages from the 80's and 90's - I can't remember the total - but it would be around 500 foolscap pages I think.
The very end I wrote in bed - getting to this stage and re-reading what I'd originally done - I couldn't believe how close I'd got to finishing the original vesion of it - I'd done about 99% of it. I rewrote the end freshly, because a lot of other changes had preceded it and it needed re-doing, and it was pretty emotional doing this
sometime around 90 or 91 I went to Lamington National Park and camped out in the bush under the rainforest canopy to research sections of the book. It was an exhilarating experience and I still had all my notes from then to draw on ~ and now they almost look like a time capsule from how the place was marketed then!
All the old and new books, notes and resources I was drawing on to finish it
Finally finished, formatted and ready for publishing - late 2016
The first batch of books

It was very exciting seeing it on the shelves (here at the Booktree in Toowoomba)

Interviews and Web Links

Interview on Smart Girls Love Sci-fi

Interview on Mercedes Fox Books

SFF World - Top 7 Tips on World Building by author and film maker Alexander Scot McPhie

The Forest of Life on Goodreads

The Forest of Life on Amazon.com

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