Thursday, July 10, 2014

New York City in the Year 2256 {+ Giveaway}

A Gazillion Little Bits CoverWhile we all wonder from time to time what the future will hold, author Claudia Brevis put her visions into a post-apocalyptic thriller entitled, A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS, set in New York City in the year 2256.

Claudia joins us today to talk about how she came to write about a futuristic New York City. In addition, Claudia is giving away a copy of her book to a lucky visitor. Please see the end of the post for details.

Here’s a brief synopsis of A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS, Claudia’s debut novel:

New York City. 2256.
        Isolated by shifting lands, fire and beasts, fewer than thirteen thousand people live in the ruins and rubble of Manhattan without technology, government or any connection to the world from which they've descended...
        Until the mysterious whispers arrive, followed by a stranger who holds what may be the key to the city's ultimate survival.

Please join me in welcoming Claudia as she tells us ‘How the hell did I end up writing about NYC in the year 2256?’

I’ve been in love with New York City my whole life. From when I was a kid living in Queens coming into the city to visit my grandparents on the Lower East Side or see a show at Radio City with my cousins, to when I was a teen living in Westchester, cutting school to sneak into Manhattan via Metro North with friends to see movies like The Exorcist, or A Star is Born. When the time came for college, NYU was the obvious choice, and I packed my stuff and moved to Manhattan and I've been here ever since.

Some years back I read Pete Hamill’s Downtown: My Manhattan and was moved by his own love affair with New York. One of the things I took away from his book was how New Yorkers live in a state of perpetual nostalgia. Everything changes. Restaurants and shops close. Buildings are torn down. Where one minute there’s a tenement, the next it’s a vacant lot. Whole blocks are done over, and over yet again. Sometimes my husband and I return from a week away to find a new restaurant opening, and we can barely remember what was there before!

Genealogy fueled my passion for NYC. I’ve traced my husband’s family back to the 1840’s here, and my own family to the early 1900’s. As a genealogical offshoot, and in a state of perpetual nostalgia, I began digging into city records and photographs, tracing the lives and tracking the changes of buildings and neighborhoods. I pored over old maps and real estate records, spending so many hours in newspaper archives and reading memoirs and historical documents that it got to a point where walking down a street, I could see, as if in overlay, the story of the block through time. Sometimes the images and impressions actually took my breath away. 

That breathlessness was the birth of the mysterious whispers in A Gazillion Little Bits.

What if it were possible to know all there was to know about a subject? To know a thing from its earliest history, in all its configurations through time? What if somebody could tap into the All Knowing? What would that be like? Would it take their breath away?

Feeling compelled to explore this, I struggled for a foothold. Would I write about old Manhattan? Did I want to recreate a specific period in NYC history? How could I reinvent the wheel, writing about a world that authors before me had done so magnificently? Caleb Carr in The Alienist. Jack Finney in his Time and Again. The wonderful Old New York of Edith Wharton. How could I compete with the knowledge of people like Christopher Gray (New York Times Streetscapes columnist) Kevin Walsh (Forgotten New York) and a host of other paramours and masters of the city?

I held onto the idea of a NYC whisperer for quite some time, unsure how to enter the 19th century via fiction. All I did know for sure was that it WAS possible to see the history of the city in layers.

One day, driving with my husband on the west side, I looked up at the George Washington Bridge and instead of seeing commuter traffic crossing six lanes, I saw an ancient, vine-draped bridge, the road covered in vegetable gardens and crop fields. As we continued along the highway, city sounds dissolved, replaced by the call of seagulls and peregrine falcons. Oncoming cars disappeared, and I saw on the road a Runner, her hair pulled under a visored veil. Like the fabled, ancient Greek messenger who ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, or the Inca who traveled hundreds of miles to relay news, this girl on the highway ran without distraction, chanting messages she was charged with delivering.

I watched for only a few short moments. And when the sights and sounds of the modern world returned, I realized my historic overlay had shifted, allowing me to see not the past, but rather some future version of Manhattan. And I knew that my story began right there with the Runner, on the George Washington Bridge, in that future.

It took some months of writing to discover the year was 2256, and even longer to learn what had happened to my beloved city during the prior centuries.

In a sense, writing about the future has given me more time with my favorite place in the world, a way to hold on. There’s comfort in A Gazillion Little Bits, as I’ve realized through the creation of the novel, that even after an apocalypse there is the hope of return. 

And that, my friends, is how I found myself writing about NYC in the year 2256.

Claudia, thanks for sharing this glimpse at NYC in the future. It sounds amazing and now you have me wondering how the road became a garden and why.

For those not familiar with Claudia, here’s a bit of background information.

CLAUDIA BREVIS is an author, songwriter, playwright, genealogist and New Yorker living with her husband, Skip Brevis, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Claudia’s music and lyrics have been featured on stage, television, film and recordings.

She vocal-arranged and composed original music for the off-Broadway hit Beehive, the 60′s Musical, and she and her husband co-wrote the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival hit, Winner Take All (A Rock Opera). Other works include Norwegian Cruise Line’s Showdown, an interactive American Idol spoof now in its sixth year on the high seas.

When she isn’t writing music or working on her next novel, Claudia can be found exploring NYC, researching genealogy, cooking, or, most often, just hanging with her family!

For more on Claudia and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter.

A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS  can be purchased in Kindle or paperback format at these sites:

Here’s a book trailer for A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS for your viewing pleasure.

A Gazillion Little Bits from Claudia Brevis on Vimeo.


This giveaway is for one print/eBook copy of A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS. The giveaway is open to U.S./Canada/International residents and will end Thursday, July 17.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Claudia Brevis’ Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks for joining us today. Have you ever wondered what your town/city would look like in the future?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Interesting way to come up with an apocalyptic story. And since you know how fast things change, I imagine that far in the future, a lot of New York is unrecognizable.
    Congratulations, Claudia.

  2. Claudia, thanks again for visiting. You'll definitely have me looking at things in a new light now. Wishing you much success.

    1. Thanks for inviting me in to share! You're the best, and I'm very appreciative of your offer and all your work to make it happen!

  3. That would be fascinating to do with a lot of cities. I'd pick Savanna, as it would add a slew of ghosts to the tale.

    1. That is a GREAT idea!! Post-apoc ghosts....! Run with it! :)

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Claudia.

    Claudia - Thanks for sharing the background to your novel. I think it's always fascinating to speculate about what the future might be like. I wish you success.

    1. Thanks, Margot! I think it's fun to speculate, too, and I love movies that show a near or distant future. We just saw Planet of the Apes and it took place in San Francisco and I loved seeing a city I know fairly well in a post-collapse setting!! So much fun. :)

  5. now that is a book for me. I adore postapocalyptic books and films and shows

    1. Thanks, Dezmond! I do, too. Have you seen The Last Ship? New tv show? We just watched the first one!!! Pretty good. Hope it keeps up...there are a few more so far this season, on TNT! :)

  6. This captivating and fascinating book would be unforgettable. Congratulations and best wishes. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. Thank you for writing this book.

  8. The book look amazing :) Thanks for the chance :)

    1. Thanks Celeste, and thanks for entering!! :)

  9. Fascinating premise and I enjoyed reading how you came around to it. Congratulations and best of luck

  10. What a great idea. I'm lovin' the cover too.

    1. Thanks, Southpaw! Sam Tsui is the cover artist. He did the map inside my book as well. Sam is super well known for his music and not too many people know he's a fantastic artist!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.