The Body Electric is the latest novel from New York Times Best Selling author Beth Revis. In this new interview with Hypable, Beth talks about her inspiration behind the novel and where it all comes from.
From Beth Revis
One of the most common questions an author is asked is, “where does your inspiration come from?” It is also one of the most difficult questions for an author to answer. Inspiration comes from everywhere. From random things we see on television, from weird dreams, from travel, from conversations with our mom or a stranger or ourselves.
But mostly, inspiration comes from questions. “What if?” is the most important question an author can ask. “What if an orphan boy found out he was a wizard?” Harry Potter. “What if a group of kids had to fight to the death in an arena?” The Hunger Games. “What if a girl woke up early from cryogenic freezing?” Across the Universe, my first novel. “What if you could alter people’s memories?” The Body Electric, my most recent novel, out October 6.
So if I find myself in need of inspiration, I seek out things that will make me ask “what if?” Sometimes this is travel — envisioning the Mediterranean island of Malta gave me the setting for The Body Electric. More often, though, I find information from stories. Books, movies, anime, graphic novels — all of this inspires me, directly or not, because the stories tend to spin off as questions in my mind. What if the characters did X instead of Y? What if the whole story was a sci fi instead of realistic? What would happen if this cool thing happened…?
Ethical questions are a particular interest and inspiration for me. I brought a lot of ideas about governments, leaderships, and societies to the Across the Universe series. For The Body Electric, I turned to more personal ethics, asking things like, “What makes us human?” and “Are we the same person if our memories are altered?”
These questions were definitely influenced by a love for the works of Philip K. Dick. You probably best know him through movies based on his books, such as Blade Runner and Total Recall, the two that most shaped my ideas while working on The Body Electric. In Blade Runner, the main character has to fight rogue androids, but the question of whether or not the androids should have the same rights as humans, whether or not they have feelings or even, ultimately, a soul became a central question to my work. I will go ahead and say that there is a clear line between androids and humans in The Body Electric and I don’t pull the whole “this person you thought was human isn’t!” trick, but I do have the characters question where humanity ends and machinery begins.
Inspiration is all around — anything that makes you think, that creates a story, that makes you question — that’s inspiration. It’s both extraordinarily commonplace and magical at the same time.
About ‘The Body Electric’
The future world is at peace.
Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift — the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother — to help others relive their happy memories.
But not all is at it seems.
Ella starts seeing impossible things — images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience — and influence — the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love — even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…
Someone’s altered her memory.
Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.
So who can she trust?