When people ask me what the Woodlands is about I have struggled to answer. Because for me it's oh-so-complicated. But I should be able to answer that question. And the answer ends up being a series of questions I asked myself when I was writing the book.
I am of mixed race. And when I say mixed race I mean I represent that melting pot, where you chuck about 12 different ethnic backgrounds in, stir it up and out comes me (and my siblings). The result is a look that has no discernible origin. You can't look at me and say, yep she's Asian or, yep she's anglo-saxon.
So one of the questions I asked when I started writing was: What if the world nearly ended on the edge of a bitter race war? And what if the survivors believed the only way to prevent another war was to systematically wipe out racial characteristics? As in, everyone looks the same and you can't tell where their ancestors may have come from. To put it simply, could you erase racism by erasing the lines between races?
This idea bloomed into the totalitarian regime of the Woodlands, where acknowledging your ethnic background is an offence, people who don't fit the ideal are treated poorly and people who have the right 'look' are favoured. The leaders of this world are obsessed with creating a 'raceless' race. Which is impossible right?