Lissa Bryan is the author of the dystopian trilogy, The End of All Things. Check out Part 1 of her interview here.
Is there a message in the series you want your readers to take away with them when they’ve finished?
I guess the message is that the human spirit is an incredible thing. We’re capable of surviving terrible traumas, of coming together in the most horrific circumstances. I’ve always been amazed at the powerful stories that emerge after disasters of people risking everything to help others, of people coming together to face challenges, to overcome darkness together. We humans are capable of incredible things–beautiful things. We’re also capable of great cruelty, but again and again throughout history, we see the best of the human spirit conquering in the end.
I don’t know if I was faced with the same circumstances that I would do as well as Carly does. When Justin finds her in the first book, she’s in a deep state of shock. She’s just watched the world end, after all. But under that frightened, bewildered exterior, she has a core of steel, and she emerges strong and determined to rebuild an even better world than the one before. That’s the kind of human spirit I wanted to celebrate in these books.
Love, too, plays a huge role in this. Not only the love that grows between Carly and Justin, but the love the characters have for their families and friends, the love that binds their community together. Justin starts out as a cynic about love, but he learns to see it as one of the essential things that holds people together when everything else has fallen apart.
“That’s what you never understood. I didn’t understand it myself until I met Carly, but now I see it. I’ve asked myself why humans deserve a chance to survive. Maybe nature intended us to die out, and we were just a sad remnant waiting for time to finish the job. After all, what makes us any more special than the millions of other species that have fallen by the wayside? But then I realized what it was. The one thing we had that made us superior to every other species. The thing that made us worthy of survival. Love, Lewis. It was love. From it stems every good thing human beings have ever done. Every work of art, every poem, every hospital, every law that codified compassion. It’s interesting. The very thing you despise as weakness is the one thing that makes our species worthy of continuing.”
Stay tuned for more from Lissa!