Greg Hickey was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1985 and raised in Winnetka. After graduating from Pomona College in 2008, he played and coached baseball in Sweden and South Africa. He is now a forensic scientist, endurance athlete and award-winning writer. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay. Read more about Greg at www.greghickeywrites.com.
How long have you been writing?
A long time. I remember planning to write my first novel over summer break in elementary or junior high school based on a story I wrote for class. That project didn’t get off the ground, but I’ve enjoyed writing stories for almost as long as I’ve been able to use a computer.
What inspired the story of Our Dried Voices?
The colonists of Pearl are based on the Eloi from The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. In his novel, the Eloi are a future species that have evolved from humans and are basically innocent, mindless, happy beings who live (mostly) blissfully ignorant lives. They are the result of what happens when people have no need to struggle for survival. I was fascinated by humankind’s rather paradoxical aim of exercising all our knowledge in order to make our lives easier and more automated, to the point where we no longer need to think or act.
How long did it take to finish the novel?
I started writing it after I graduated from college in 2008. I was fortunate enough to travel for the next year, playing and coaching baseball in Sweden and South Africa. Aside from a temporary job in South Africa, I had plenty of time to write during the day. I wrote the vast majority of the book that year, and spent the next few years rewriting and editing it after I returned home. All told, it was probably at least a four year process, although I worked on other projects during that time.
What is your favorite detail about Our Dried Voices?
This question comes from my lovely wife Lindsay, from whom I borrowed one of her many neologisms for the novel. On a larger scale, a lot of thought went into the sub-story in Chapter XIII. This section is important because it explains how the Pearl colonists have any remnants of language, and I needed the sub-story to incorporate at least the most significant vocabulary of the colonists. But as I started to write it, I decided I wanted it to be more than a vocabulary lesson. The story had to reflect the world of Our Dried Voices, in some substantial, but hopefully subtle, way. So I hope a few readers will recognize the characters and basic plot of this section as reminiscent of another story.
Did you write this book with the intention of having sequels or a whole series of books?
I did not write Our Dried Voices with the specific intention of it serving as the first in a series of books about humanity’s future. However, I think the end of the novel leaves that possibility open, and I can imagine writing a sequel a few years from now, though that’s not my next project.
So what is next? What are you working on now?
I’m currently editing a novel entitled The Friar’s Lantern. It’s a gamebook (a fancy word for choose-your-own-adventure story) that addresses various questions about free will and determinism. The story centers around a philosophy problem called Newcomb’s paradox and a murder trial in which you are a jury member. You can read more about the story on my website, www.greghickeywrites.com.