Rare Earth by Colin Smith. A shocking exposé of the Ivory Trade. – @inholms
Rare Earth by author Colin Smith is an exposé of the trade in ivory and other body parts. Colin has visited Africa on many occasions and this led to his compassion towards the majestic animals he saw whilst visiting.
Colin describes the book as ‘faction’. This is because the characters, places and events are fictional, but the ‘torture and slaughter methods used are all real’.
We took the time to ask Colin a few more questions bout himself and his novel.
Could you please introduce yourself Colin?
Colin Smith is an inventor and conservation specialist. He has spent his professional life working as a scientist and has held senior managerial positions with a number of international companies and is the named inventor in more than 50 international patents, ranging from bed bug detectors to environmentally acceptable methods of pest control and novel methods of hygiene control systems.
I found the process of getting my thoughts on paper fairly easy. This difficult part was writing about the cruelty.
What do you hope readers take away from your novel Rare Earth?
Awareness and hatred of those involved in poaching and trophy hunting to the extent they will actually feel motivated to help stop it.
Can you tell us about the process of writing this novel?
I became aware over the past few years and from my frequent visits back to Africa, that poaching was getting out of hand and criminals were becoming multimillionaires on the back of this disgusting slaughter and I wanted to find a way of stopping it. I concluded the best way was to write a graphic novel. Although dyslectic, I have fought this condition over the years and have written many scientific papers, I found the process of getting my thoughts on paper fairly easy. This difficult part was writing about the cruelty.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing this work to life?
The main challenge was the research and the revelations. I worked on the the basis that the reader had to be revolted by the actions of the poachers, so i dreamed up what I thought was the most vile acts. But to my dismay, I found that when I ‘Googled’ them people were doing far worse in reality. Since writing the book, I now realise that I understated the problem, I just did not realise how bad things are; one one hand we have an industry with unlimited funding and on the other hand we have apathy from the public and little more than keen housewives organising marches. More elephants and rhino have been poached this year than ever and as things now stand there will be no wild rhino by 2018 and no wild elephants by 2022 in the whole of Africa. Furthermore, more than half the proceeds from ivory and rhino horn poaching go to financing ISIS and other terrorist organisations. And also the Catholic Church still supports the use of ivory to make crucifixes and refuses to sign up to CITES.
How can readers shocked and disgusted by the animal cruelty you recount in your novel take action?
I was rather hoping that a rich billionaire, with a terminal illness may take on the role of Adam!
What are you working on now?
My next novel will either be a work aimed at stopping the vile trade in bear bile or a thesis questioning mans urge to reach other planets, knowing we have destroyed the one we live on. I am exploring the possibility that man is a contagion, a virus, programmed to destroy planets.