God’s Bolt and Reawakening – the Character Helen Southcote.

The initial idea was to attempt to write a novel with just one character. The character, my heroine, was Helen Southcote.

I had to have a setting for her to be stranded on her own and so I chose the Space Station. This was the future and the world had been brought back from the brink of environmental disaster. The population had been reduced to four billion and nature, conserved in huge swathes of pristine habitat, now thrived.

Helen was raised in the countryside is what had been England. She ran wild with her two brothers and developed a love of nature. Her parents were extremely gifted. Her father being a biologist working for the food agency and her mother a biochemist who worked from her laboratory at home legally creating recreational drugs.

Helen was a vibrant, inquisitive girl. I based a lot of her early experiences on my own childhood. The caterpillars, snakes and wildlife were my experiences. The competition with her brothers and her dare-devil tree-climbing was my daughter.

I made her compassionate, highly intelligent, studious, a completer-finisher and problem-solver, but with a reckless, fun-loving nature. She was very able and obsessively hard-working but also knew how to party. She was sexually active (necessary as part of the plot) and indulged in the psychoactive drugs her mother produced (all safe and legal). Her personality was warm and extrovert. She fell in love easily and developed close relationships with all sexes and ages. She was very gregarious.

Helen was a communicator, exceedingly self-confident and charismatic, able to charm a large audience in a symposium or perform successfully within a small team.

Instead of becoming a biologist, as might have been predicted from her early life, she was turned on to Physics by one of those inspiring teachers that turn up to change the course of one’s life. She became interested in the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Carl Sagan became her hero. It was through this that she entered into a career in SETI – the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. That is what had taken her to the Space Station.

At the time of the destruction of the Earth Helen was still a young girl. She found herself alone, the last surviving human being. I wanted to examine how such a terrible event and horrendous future, with its certainty of being completely alone, with no purpose in sight, might impact on the psychology of such a person.

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