Joey Graceffa is a creator, writer, actor, singer and producer. He has become one of YouTube’s most recognisable faces and boasts over 9 million subscribers and 1 billion views. Having followed Joey’s career closely for over 5 years, I had impossibly high-expectations when meeting him for the first time. Luckily he surpassed every expectation.
Joey was as captivating, dazzling and energetic in person as he appears on screen. He was the same Joey that I and millions of others have fallen head-over-heels for in recent years.
At the heart of Joey’s many successful endeavours is his passion for creativity. He began making short films such as ‘Eon’ and his since created his own web series ‘Story Tellers’ and YouTube Red series ‘Escape the Night’.
A master of many, Joey has also turned his hand to writing. His memoir ‘In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World’ reflected on Joey’s childhood and some dark periods in his life such as bullying and his mothers battle with alcoholism. The book was a stratospheric success and propelled Joey into the celebrated New York Times Bestsellers List.
This year he released ‘Children of Eden’, a novel told from the perspective of Rowan, a young girl who was born a twin in a world where only one child is allowed per household. It is a world where population control measures make her an outlaw. After 16 years of being shut away from the rest of the world, she climbs over the walls that close her off from civilization and embarks on an epic journey.
Joey revealed that creatively, the novel was a challenge as it was unexplored territory. He confessed: “The story was happening in my mind like a movie, it just all came together as I saw it. It was a really neat process to make something up and have the creative freedom to see how the story develops as opposed to my first book where I was looking back on my own life and taking many bad moments from my past and reliving them.”
He added: “It’s cool to make decisions for your character and really go crazy with fashion and architecture. It takes place in the future, so I could let my imagination run wild.”
Joey revealed that the story was inspired by the idea of the government controlling the population.
He said: “I was inspired by the one child policy that used to exist in China. I wanted to follow a character who was born into a world where her existence was illegal. I also wanted to touch upon global issues of how we treat the environment. The reason why her existence is illegal is because of how humanity treats each other and the world.”
‘Children of Eden’ reads as though it has been written for the screen, that was always Joey’s intention. He confessed: “The original plan was for ‘Children of Eden’ to be my first feature film. I decided to go the book route first, like Hunger Games, Maze Runner and Divergent. I think that you get more of a story through books as with filming you are very limited by budget and time. With books there is so much more freedom.”
Throughout the process of writing the novel, Joey found that doubting himself became one of his greatest challenges.
He admitted: “The decision-making was definitely the most challenging part of the process and I kind of second-guessed myself a lot. Everything looks set in stone as I went along because once something was put down on paper it was really hard to rearrange.”
Joey confessed that his fears for the effect humans are having on the environment was a key theme in the novel.
He said: “I’m just trying to plant seeds in people’s heads. What could happen if we don’t treat the environment well, we might not have it forever. There are moments in the book where Rowan is looking back on us and calling us idiots and it’s just like how we look back at some elements of history.”
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