It’s an uncomfortable thought that what we write may come true. A child asked me recently how the story within a story in the junior novel Kelsey and the Quest of the Porcelain Doll came true. I told him he could decide if it truly did. But I’ve wondered what our sci-fi authors from times past would feel if they could see some of their projected fantasies and ideas in use within homes and communities: robots, computer operated cars, flights into space …
We have an amazing imagination and often ideas are not exclusive. They can be shared by others on different sides of the planet. A few years ago two manuscripts came at different times to my desk for comment. They had the same theme and setting, plus it was obvious the authors had undertaken similar research as certain plot elements were evident in both. Yet these two authors did not know each other. They just had similar interests.
I once wrote an unpublished novel about a terrorist attack on a school in Pakistan. The school I used for inspiration was the one my children attended in the Himalayan Mountains. At the time I thought I was writing adventure/fantasy. There was no organised terrorist activity within Pakistan, only the mujahedeen groups fighting it out in Afghanistan and on the border. So imagine my shock when that very school was attacked by terrorists ten years later. When the school became my host for my Asialink Fellowship in 2006 I found the students quiet, watchful, but spiritually and emotionally mature. When lockdown happens in that school no one mucks around.
I am enjoying the privilege of revisiting this story, now called Liana’s Dance, Book 3 of the Beyond Borders series to be released in 2017 (Rhiza Press). It does not depict the true event of what happened in 2002 when a Christian school was attacked by a terrorist group, but I did gain insight and inspiration from eye witness accounts from students and staff to restructure and rewrite the whole book. Nor is the story only about a terrorist attack, but the attack becomes the catalyst for the rest of the plot where sixteen-year-old Liana discovers her inner strength and uses her gift of dancing to save lives.
So my imagination conjured a terrorist attack on a school. Some years later it actually happened. Am I a prophet? No. While living in Pakistan I wrote what could possibly happen, not what would certainly happen. There is a difference, I hope.