Where humankind has pushed nature and morals to the extreme, Charley is amongst the chosen few tasked with exploring the boundaries, forcing him to look deep into his very being to discern right from wrong. But as he and his friends learn more about the frightening forces that threaten destruction both without and within the gates, Meritropolis reveals complexities they couldn’t possibly have bargained for…
Title: Meritropolis (Meritropolis, #1)
Author: Joel Ohman
Published: September 8, 2014
Thank you so much for allowing me to share a little about myself and my book, Meritorium.
1. Other than an author, who are you Joel Ohman?
My name is Joel Ohman. I am 33 years old, married to my best friend, Angela, and have 3 kids, ages 5, almost 3, and 1. My writing companion is my 130lb Bull Mastiff, Caesar (who's asleep on the job most of the time, to be honest). I am a Christian who likes to talk about the good news of Jesus Christ. I do volunteer work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and also with my church in Tampa. I am a serial entrepreneur, having founded a number of different startups in the web space. I am currently the President & CEO of 360 Quote LLC and Real Time Health Quotes LLC, and we own a lot of different web properties, one of the most popular ones being our workout website/iOS App/Android App for Exercise.com. You can learn more about me at JoelOhman.com.
2. Who or what was your inspiration to write about post-apocalyptic, dystopian, sci-fi?
I've read a lot in this genre, so I would say it’s a mix of a lot of different things. I really just wanted to explore this question of, "What gives a person worth?" Is it their usefulness to society? Is it because someone loves them? Is it because of how they look? Is it because of their health or ability? As a Christian, I believe that all people have worth, because
they are made in the image of God. I wanted to explore some different takes on this question. I think that the post-apocalyptic/dystopian/sci-fi genre was the best vehicle to tackle some of those deep philosophical questions in a fun and interesting way.
While book #1 was all about this idea of what gives a person worth—and is really the overarching theme of the series—in Meritorium I really wanted to explore what makes a person different than an animal. Is it because we are (hopefully) smarter, more cunning, more powerful? What if that weren’t the case—could you say that an animal is just as important as a person, or even more so? Why or why not?
I also wanted to delve into mankind’s relationship to animals: why do we love some animals, like dogs, and yet eat other animals, like pigs? How do we “rank” the importance of one animal in relation to another? How should we be responsible stewards of the animals around us? Is it possible to love animals and care for them while also eating them? And no, I am not a vegetarian—in case you were wondering—but I think that the Biblical Theology of Creation is uniquely suited to answer some of these tough questions that we all wrestle with, at one time or another, and when you can explore some of these big, weighty philosophical questions against the backdrop of battles and gladiators and creatures with eyes that glint gold in the pitch black night then it can be a lot of fun too.
3. Can you tells us about your characters and who/what inspired them?
I am a big believer in John Truby’s approach to building a “character web”, because this deepens the relationships between characters and helps to make each of the characters more complex. Absent building a good character web, it can be all too easy to fall into the not-very-true-to-real-life good-person/bad-person false dichotomy where your protagonist devolves into this I-can-do-no-wrong character and your antagonist is just pure evil. I was very much aiming to show the imperfections and brokenness in each of the characters. My thinking as a Christian influences this to some degree, given that the Bible teaches that we are all essentially the same; we are all sinners—only God is perfect.
4. What is the most surprising thing you learned while writing?
One of the most important things I learned is maybe not all that surprising, but definitely important—the value of an editor. I worked with 3 different editors while writing the Meritropolis series. Each of them provided extremely valuable feedback and advice that was instrumental at various stages of the book writing process. The book that is available for purchase now is a much better book than it would have been without the expertise of my editorial team.
5. Do you prefer eBooks or traditional paperback/hardback?
I never thought I would say this, but I now totally prefer eBooks over paperback/hardback. I definitely prefer to read on my iPad Air using the Kindle app. I love that I can carry my entire library on my iPad, I can hold the iPad with one hand (so I can eat while I read!), and I don’t have to add any more huge storage bins to my garage that are full of books!
About the Author