''These sorts of ideas [about climate change issues] were very much on my mind across the summer of 2013-2014. Although it would be a year until it was published, I had just finished writing my novel, Clade, which sought to capture something of the disruption and convulsion of the coming century through the experiences of a single family.''
''People sometimes describe ''Clade'' as a hopeful book, but I’ve never been sure that’s quite right. For while it deliberately resists the seductions of despair, emphasising instead contingency and the depth of time ahead of us as well as behind, it is still a book that is suffused with grief.
''Yet as that abnormally long, abnormally hot summer stretched on, I found myself imagining a different kind of book, one in which the worst had already happened. As is often the case with my work, the story really began with an image: that of a girl and her sister making their way through a flooded landscape, in which all traces of our world had been washed away, replaced instead by crowding rainforest. I didn’t know who they were, or where they were going, but I knew them.
''The bond between them; the older girl’s determination to protect her sister. And – perhaps just as importantly – I knew the landscape they were travelling was both ours and not, its alien strangeness a reflection of a world in which the environment had begun to metamorphose into something alien....
''As I wrote ''The Silent Invasion,'' other pieces began to fall into place ....And perhaps most importantly, the idea of a natural world that was no longer passive, but connected, sentient, its mind distributed not just through animals and humans, but plants, bacteria, all living things.
''I also realised I was writing a kind of book I hadn’t written before, one aimed as much at younger readers as at adults. The notion that I might write something for teenagers had been at the back of my mind for a while, partly because having [two young daughters] of my own had led me back to the books I loved when growing up.
''There was something liberating about this realisation, and the emotional and narrative directness it demanded of me. But as I followed my characters deeper into the altered world of the novel, I began to understand the decision to write for younger readers also mattered because it is younger people who will inherit the world we are making.....''