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'I Thought That'll Never Happen & Here We Are': Ilze Hugo On Pandemic Novel 'The Down Days'

(CBS Local)-- Ilze Hugo's new book "The Down Days," tells a story that's eerily similar to the one unfolding around the world.

The South African author writes in her novel about the impact of an infectious disease on the apocalyptic Sick City in Cape Town, South Africa. People are wearing masks, public laughter is banned, and facts are subjective. Hugo never could've fathomed that she'd be releasing a book during something like the coronavirus global pandemic.

"It's absolutely crazy because when I wrote this and was thinking wouldn't it be nice if I put Cape Town under quarantine, but then I thought that is so far fetched," said Hugo in an interview with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith. "I thought that'll never happen and here we are. It's crazy."

Photo Credit: Simon & Schuster

Hugo has been researching the impact of infectious diseases on society for years. The author has always been fascinated by the topic, but never thought she'd write a post-apocalyptic pandemic novel. Hugo has spent a lot of time thinking about how big events like a pandemic change people.

"We always think we know who we are and then something like this comes around and completely screws with your perceptions about what kind of person you are," said Hugo."I loved playing with normal characters and figuring out how they will change as this whole event progresses and as they have to fall on hard times. They have to find new ways to make money and what will they do in that situation and who will they turn out to be. I think that's why we're fascinated by pandemic novels and post-apocalyptic novels because people like to think how will I react in that kind of situation."

"The Down Days" is available wherever books are sold. Watch all of DJ Sixsmith's interviews from "The Sit-Down" series here.

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