One aspect of the book is “Oh yeah, it’s a conspiracy book,” but it’s not, because the majority of situations are inspired by real things. So it’s been frankly bizarre, and I’ve had to hold myself at a bit of a remove from a lot of things. I think a lot of people are experiencing that right now, not being able to process everything that’s happening.
You mentioned conspiracy theories, and I thought it was interesting that you mention Illuminati by name a few times in the book. A theme in the book was the questioning of reality — who is believed, who isn’t. What were you trying to demonstrate about the truths that we believe and what we don’t?
We all have the family member sending Illuminati videos in the group chat. Particularly within the Black community, there can be a robust conspiracy theory situation going on, because so much wild stuff has been done to us. At a certain point I can understand why people believe the Illuminati are doing these things.
I was getting into all kinds of arguments with people during Covid, because they were like, “You can’t tell them that you’re sick, because they’re going to come take you and do tests on you.” On the one hand it’s like, “Look, please tell people if you’re sick.”
But on the other hand, I completely understand why you would believe that. There have been how many cases with evidence of testing on Black communities? Of course there are going to be conspiracy theories, and among those conspiracy theories there is the kernel of truth that testing has been done in Black communities. So why shouldn’t they believe that this is a possibility?
You typically write romance. Why did you decide to try a new form?
When I’m writing romance, I’m leaning more into the good. In every romance you have to also make the reader feel bad sometimes, but you lean into certain beats that will make the reader feel happy, feel hopeful and excited. In this, it was fun to be able to lean into things that would make the reader feel anxious, because I was anxious in writing it. I could explore the kinds of things that can be done in the story when focusing on that slate of emotions as opposed to romantic emotions.