April Doyle – Q&A

Hive by April Doyle was published by The Book Guild on 28 January 2022.

April kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about Hive.

Hive is a speculative fiction/climate fiction novel, set in a near-future dystopian world on the brink of ecological collapse. But there is hope in the form of a small group of courageous and inventive protagonists, and a natural world that – when humans play their part – isn’t quite ready to give up the ghost. Think Station Eleven meets Don’t Look Up.

2. What inspired the book?

Like most of us, I’ve been following the increasingly worrying reports about how climate change is affecting our world. I listen to Farming Today on Radio 4 most mornings, and in 2018 they did a series of features about how pollinator numbers are in serious decline and how this could affect food production. I think the book had probably been brewing for a while, but that’s when the idea really hit me.

3. Do you plan before you start writing or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

I do plan a little, using the Hero’s Journey structure, which helps me to see roughly where I’m going and how to get there, but it’s never set in stone and quite often the characters have other ideas!

4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that surprised you?

I didn’t know how long it would take from signing with a publisher to holding a finished copy in my hands. I also wasn’t prepared for the emotional rollercoaster of having a book out in the world. Luckily I’m part of a very supportive debut novel group – they understand!

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

I do lots of crochet, reading, baking, and walking my lovely dog. Except – the thing about writing is, whenever there’s free time, I feel like I should be writing.

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

That’s really a tough one. Today I think it would be Pride and Prejudice. If you ask me again tomorrow you might get a different answer. I would be a disaster on Desert Island Discs.

7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

Oh that’s a fiendishly difficult question! (At this point I had to go away and have a long think.) Nobody’s ever asked whether or not I like to listen to music while I’m writing, and I know that’s something lots of writers have strong opinions on. I do like to listen to something, and usually for each book I have a different album. After a while it becomes a Pavlovian response and putting the music on makes me feel ready to write. It has to be something I know really well, so that it isn’t distracting. For Hive I had two albums by The War on Drugs playing on repeat: Lost in the Dream and A Deeper Understanding.

About the Book

Near-future Britain. Climate change has led to food shortages and civil unrest. Pollinating insects are in steep decline. Commercial bee farmer Victor Martin travels around the farms of Kent with his hives to pollinate fruit trees and crops. Local research entomologist Dr Annie Abrams is devastated when she’s ordered to give up her captive bee colonies – her life’s work – to join forces with Victor and ensure a harvest. But the bees are dying. Their only hope seems to be an experimental alternative to insect pollination: robot pollinators called nanodrones. But why does the drone designer seem so familiar? And who is behind the shadowy organisation intent on sabotaging their vital work? Can Annie and Victor win their battle to save the bees… or is it too late?

You can purchase a copy of Hive here.

(This is an affiliate link so I may earn a small amount of money if you buy through it. You can also buy Hive from your local independent bookshop.)

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