An interview with Neus Figueras about her new book ‘Lorac’

Lorac is a fantastic new novel that unites science and fantasy to wrap one of the most important scientific messages of our time into a single compelling story for all ages. I talked to its author Neus Figueras to discuss her inspirations and reasons behind writing her book.

Lorac cover
The book cover of ‘Lorac’ illustrated by Evan Piccirillo

Can your briefly describe the plot of Lorac for someone who hasn’t heard of it?

The story is divided in three parts that separate different settings and time periods. Part I represents the past, and reminds us how close we used to be to nature by following Lorac and his nomad family of Mokens as they sail the waters of the Mergui archipelago. Part II plunges Lorac and Zoe―her strangest friend ever―into the heart of the sea, where he unveils a world that remains invisible to many—beautiful, ingenious, vitally connected to life on Earth, and with a terrible threat ahead. Part III takes Lorac and Zoe into the modern world, where they must fight climate change and misinformation to show that choice is the greatest and most underestimated power we have, and that we can emerge victorious from the current environmental crisis if we stand together. The book ends with an unpredictable, fast-paced, and action-filled finale.

What inspired you to write Lorac?

I am first and foremost a marine scientist. The idea behind Lorac originated in April 2017 while I was preparing a proposal of a coral restoration project for a secluded island in the Mergui archipelago in Myanmar. Coral reef restoration is quite tricky because corals are at risk of bleaching in the face of rising temperatures. Therefore I decided to create a story that would convey in an exciting and clear way the need to preserve our planet.

Neus Figueras working on underwater coral nurseries

What was your main aim in writing Lorac?

Lorac brings an urgent message from the ocean, and the main aim is to deliver it to as many people as possible. It is about exploring how over time our impacts on the ocean have increased and what we need to do to undo this. That is why all proceeds from sales and donations go towards spreading awareness of the book to inspire more people to connect with our community and with nature, so necessary in these times.

Why write a book to spread that message?

Writing a book was a natural choice for me because I could combine my scientific knowledge and creative writing skills. Every contribution to help the planet counts and is more important than ever. Like all serious problems, we need to use every route we can to solve it, and Lorac is indeed a new route.

I also believe stories are the most powerful delivery tool for information, you not only weave in them a lot of information into the telling, but you also arouse your audience’s emotions and energy, and thus, the necessary passion to take action.

Do you think writing fiction is the best way to convey important facts?

Although fictional, the novel is a perfect representation of the word we live in: the Moken exist, the marine characters are real, all the scientific concepts have a solid basis, and is inspired by my experiences living on the uninhabited island where I worked for three months while carrying out my ecological restoration tasks.

The Burmese island that inspired one of the settings of the novel

Was adding illustrations to the book important to you?

Yes. It contains fifteen original illustrations by the artist Evan Piccirillo that facilitate the visualization of Lorac’s world and unleash the reader’s imagination through a masterful display of lights and subtle details.

Who is Lorac for?

The book is available in English and Spanish and aimed at readers over 12 years old, but I think it is a story that is equally important for adult readers as well. Nobody is too young or too old to hear this important message and make a difference.

What do you think people get out of reading Lorac?

Hopefully, an entertaining and moving story with touches of humor and action, and as a positive side effect, a love for the ocean. I also hope it gives people an understanding of issues such as climate change, pollution, and overfishing, and the need for a change.

Lorac illustration
One of Lorac’s illustrations by Evan Piccirillo

What readers say

“A wonderful story that pulls you in immediately. Along the way, it touches on important issues of our time in a fascinating new and refreshing way. It is filled with action but, unlike many other modern storytellers, the author has managed to fold in complicated psychological aspects of the characters, thus giving you the opportunity to self-reflect. My background is in coral reef ecology and I must say that the book, although fictional, manages to weave in a lot of biological facts and is for that reason very educational.” ―Nicole Cernohorsky.

“This is the first book by this Author that I have read. A well-written story that makes you stop and think, what more can you do to help our oceans.” ―Barbara A. Watts.

 “A fun read, with the intent to educate us about the ocean and some of its occupants.” ―Gay L. Deputee.

“A wonderfully written tale with gorgeous illustrations and such an impacful message… about saving the oceans and the planet. This book is both enjoyable and educational; I hope that Lorac and his message will continue to reach many people.” ―Autumn Meridia.

Check out Lorac for yourself!

A big THANK YOU to Neus for taking the time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about her book. Lorac is available via where you can buy a copy and leave feedback. All proceeds go back into helping to tell its important message and feedback is also extremely valuable to authors so if you like it then be sure to say so. You can also follow Neus and her work @NeusMarine on Twitter!

If you want to check out some more amazing ocean inspired literature then have a look at some of the book reviews in our new monthly book club!

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