ABOUT YAN VANA
The Author, writing under the pseudonym Yan Vana, has had a long professional career, stretching over forty years. The Message is his first, and possibly only, work of fiction.
As an introduction to his writing and to The Message, the author explains…
The idea to write something about the dangers of human overpopulation came to me about six years ago. I can’t remember why. I didn’t set out to write a novel and I almost certainly won’t write another one. I just came round to the conclusion that doing it as sci-fi, fantasy, romantic fiction would help to make an uncomfortable subject a bit easier to digest. Even so I’d be the first to admit that it’s not always an easy read.
The purpose of the book is simply to get the message across that we have got to face up to the damage human overpopulation is doing, both to us and the Planet. David Attenborough recently said: “I meet no-one who privately disagrees that population growth is a problem. So why does hardly anyone say so publicly?
The process of working out in my head what needed to be said and how to do it took about three years – mainly during long lone car journeys. Apart from a few notes, I didn’t put anything in writing until 2013 when I wrote out the first introductory pages, but then got caught up in other things and they just lay on my desk. It wasn’t until August 2014 that I finally got down to it and completed the first draft from beginning to end in just ten weeks.
Whenever I write anything, I find getting the first draft down on paper the most difficult and I don’t enjoy it, so I try to do it as quickly as possible. I wrote it all by hand, a few pages at a time. My wonderful helper would then type those whilst I wrote the next few pages. I’d then correct what had been printed and pass them back, together with the new pages for typing. It went on like that until the first draft was finished.
I then started the serious business of amending and editing, which is what I enjoy more. During the whole process we went through 146 drafts. I know it’s very wasteful, but it’s the only way I knew. It was finally completed in December 2015.
The Message was my original choice of title. Halfway through the editing process I changed it to The Inquiry, which I thought more accurately represented the plot – an Official Inquiry into the wanton destruction of a Protected Nature Reserve. However my wife persuaded me to go back to The Message. She thought it better conveyed the purpose of the book, which is to explain the dangers of human overpopulation.
Two hundred years ago there was just one billion of us. Fifty years ago it was three billion. Now its seven billion. If we go on like this there will be eleven billion of us within fifty years. Man is now the most common mammal on the planet.