Noahan Author Issue #14 - Post-Apocapalooza!

In 1984 I was ten years old. My friend Philip told me that his priest had told him that the Anti-Christ was alive and loose in the world. A war was going on between the angels and the demons!

I didn’t come from a religious family. My parents are both astrologers, but I joined in with Philip. I played along. We spent the afternoon running up and down the streets of our neighborhood, hiding in the bushes, pausing from time to time to say that I saw a demon and proceeding to swing a stick at it, going through all of the motions of having an intense sword-fight with one monster from hell after another.

Eventually, his mother came out and said that he had to come inside for dinner, and that was the end of the war.

All of this took place in 1984, at the height of the Cold War, at a time when all of the children in America sincerely believed that we would experience an actual nuclear war in our lifetimes. It was real to us. It was more likely than not. We heard the president on television calling the Soviet Union an “Evil Empire.”

We were taught to expect the world to end in our lifetimes.

And this will always be with us.

I think this is where all of the hysteria around Y2K came from. It’s certainly the source of the excitement we will see over the next two years up until December 21st 2012 when Quetzalcoatl ushers in the next age. Maybe there’s some truth to it? The magnetic polarization of the Earth really is due to reverse itself. The Sun’s solar flares have been exhibiting some dramatically unusual activity lately. The polar ice caps do seem to be melting, which could lead to a new Biblical Flood, or even to a backlash that plunges us into a new Ice Age. Scientists at Cern are attempting to replicate the effects of the Big Bang right in the middle of Europe! And our own country, the United States, is engaged in two wars that we’re willing to dignify with the title “wars” and a couple others that we like to keep on the down-low.

I mentioned that I was raised by a pack of savage astrologers out in the wilderness. Pluto governs death and change, transformation and destruction. Does anyone really think the world 100 years from now won’t be dramatically different? This is the end of an era. I don’t know what will come next, but I do expect upheaval. I do expect our lives will be nothing like they have been. There will be death. I don’t know if it will be destruction or transformation, but maybe when we’re in the middle of it, it feels the same either way?

When I wrote my novel Luminous and Ominous it only took me a few months, but it also took me decades to build up the story in my psyche. It is the end result of having our president threaten to destroy the world. It comes from living in an era of radical and constant change. I’ve been day-dreaming about this story since I was a little boy. It only took the discovery of one missing piece to set me to finally writing it: I imagined a life-form somewhere in the universe that wasn’t as compromised as we are. What if there were an ecology that was actually sure it did want to live and not destroy itself? How could we face an opponent like that?


I’m bringing you seven interviews today, all of which are with excellent authors who have written about the end of the world. We’re going to bring you seven different versions of the destruction of the world as we know it and what comes next. I understand that most people who come to read today will be here to read an interview by a specific author who they already know and enjoy. It is my dear hope that you also take the time to read the others. Perhaps you will discover someone new who you would enjoy reading a full-length work by? At the very least you will encounter seven different perspectives on this moment of crisis which we find ourselves in, and it is a real moment. I believe that what you see here in fiction is a simple reflection of this uncertain and transformational crossroads we are living on the corner of.

All best wishes,

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman,  January 2011. 

As an added bonus! Featured author William Meikle has graciously offered to enter every reader who comments on this page into a contest to win a Kindle pre-loaded with his 15 novels at the end of February. I am not involved in this give-away, please see http://www.williammeikle.com  for details.

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Noahan Author Interview – Catherine Thornton

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman: What attracts you to stories about the end of the world?

Catherine Thornton: Post apocalyptic films and books have always fascinated me because their themes can challenge all our preconceptions about the world we live in and make us reconsider what is really fundamentally important in survival situations. PA literature deals with the best and worst instincts of humanity and has us examining how we think we would respond if a worldwide catastrophe occurred. Apart from anything else, this can make for some jolly good reading.

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman: What are some of your favourite post-apocalyptic stories? Why?

Catherine Thornton: My favourite post-apocalyptic writer is John Wyndham with books like The Day of the TriffidsChrysalids and The Kraken Wakes. I like his understated writing style because he makes the scenarios he creates seem so natural and believable, his characters so everyday that I instantly relate to the narrative, however extraordinary, and can imagine myself in that world. He also manages to raise moral issues, such as whether the interests of one group of people should be sacrificed for the benefit of others, without being over-dramatic or sensationalist: his post-apocalyptic world is a world we could all wake up to any morning.

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman: Do you think civilization deserves to fall? Why or why not?

Catherine Thornton: I confess that, perhaps in a rather romantic way, I find the notion of the world being rebuilt by a handful of survivors returning to a more simple way of life rather appealing and that there are aspects of our big, strident, greedy commercialized world which make me feel that we have lost touch with some important values. Having said that, I can imagine one post-apocalyptic winter without central heating, where I was eating leeks and parsnips from the garden on a daily basis as the supermarket shelves were bare, and the idea of fast food outlets might look rather appealing again.

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman: If a world-wide zombie outbreak occurred, what would you do?

Catherine Thornton: I can only realistically imagine this occurring as a result of some mutant virus, in which case there would be only one rational choice – to do everything I could to protect myself and others from that virus.

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman: What scares you?

Catherine Thornton: Irrational people: those who can never be reached by a reasonable argument because they are blinkered by prejudice and arrogance.

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman: Please tell us about your book.

Catherine Thornton: I was inspired to write A Great Forsaking when I watched New Labour come to power in England and saw the men in charge so certain in their worldview that they felt able to impose it on others. It made me wonder how such men would cope if a catastrophe challenged everything that they had believed in and they had to reconcile their political and religious promises with a harsh, unexpected reality.

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman: Please tell us about your protagonists.

Catherine Thornton: The two central characters in Great Forsaking were politicians in the House of Lords before England suffered a catastrophe that destroys the population. Alan Shaw is a man of conviction faced with the fact that events have proved all he preached to be wrong, and he is struggling honestly to make sense of a changed world. He is a charismatic, intelligent man; idealistic but flawed. Set against his character is his old political ally, Thomas Starkey, who tries to interpret what has happened in a way that will reconcile events with his own beliefs: two men dealing with the same problem in very different way.

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman: What have you done and are you doing to promote your work?

Catherine Thornton: I have done very little to promote A Great Forsaking, although I have joined in some very interesting online discussion about post apocalyptic literature and hope that some people might be interested to read my own story of an English apocalypse.

Catherine Thornton: Question to Noah: Do you think that the fascination of PA literature will be enduring?

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman: Well, I think it has been. The Norse sang songs about Ragnarock. The Jews and then the Christians were certainly concerned with Revelations. How many times have I turned on the television late at night to see a preacher explaining to me that current events meant that the End Times were upon us?

I think there are a number of reasons for this. It may be a way for us to cope with our own mortality, to imagine that society or the world itself is mortal too. I suspect that we also have become so accustomed to fiction that we begin to look at all life as a fiction. If my life is a story, it must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. More than that, it must have rising action, falling action, a dénouement, every device that one would expect to find in a good story.

Is that an appropriate way to look at life? Are we not just imagining stories but walking through one as well? I’m not entirely sure what the answer is.


NOAHAN AUTHOR INTERVIEW - ROBERT J. DUPERRE:

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What attracts you to stories about the end of the world?

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: I think more than anything it's the wondering of what would happen if all our amenities and advances were stripped away.  How would we survive?  How would we adapt?  How would our attitudes and morality change?  I'm naturally drawn to the struggle, seeing as I've never looked at myself as being a necessarily strong person.  I'd like to think I am, but I waver at times.  So I play the situations out through my characters and let them work through my issues for me, seeing as I'm in no big hurry to find out how I'd react if it happened for real.  Actually, now that I think about it, I guess I'm not really attracted to stories about the "end of the world".  It's more of, "end of society as we know it".  

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What are some of your favorite post-apocalyptic stories? Why?

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: I loved The Road because of its gritty realism and The Stand because of the outrageousness and scope of the themes presented.  However, my all-time favorite is without a doubt The Postman by David Brin (the book, not the movie).  The atmosphere was amazingly bleak yet hopeful, which I appreciate (I don't want to imagine a world with no hope) with countless twists and turns.  But the best thing about it is the message that if our society were to indeed collapse it will end up being no one's fault but ourselves and our fanatical obsession with weaponry and our individual desires (or supposed need?) to be the biggest, toughest guys on the block, which is a thesis that I relate to more than any.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Do you think civilization deserves to fall? Why or why not? 

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: I would say no, definitely not.  This is not to say that society is without problems - it's rife with them, obviously - but my take on the apocalyptic/dystopian story lines are that they're parables of sorts, a way to glance at the state of the world and say, "HEY!  Stop it!  Look what might end up happening!"  But we in no way deserve to fail.  I still feel that people in their core want to do the right thing.  We simply get confused and overwhelmed.  We need to approach life with a little more perspective, to see things in an evenhanded manner and make our own decisions based on what we feel is best.

And I'm not excluded from this group, either.  I make just as many mistakes in this regard as anyone, which is part and parcel why the subject intrigues me as much as it does.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: If a world-wide zombie outbreak occurred, what would you do?

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: Oh, jeez, probably shit my pants.  I mean honestly, what's the answer to that?  Can anyone realistically say, "Hey, I'd gather munitions and hold out in a bunker and kill anything that moved?"  That's why we write the stories.  So we can fantasize about the outcome without having to actually live through the dreadful horror that would undoubtedly surround us.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What scares you?

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: Short answer?  Death.  Not necessarily my own, but those around me.  I fear losing my loved ones all the time.  The thought of living without them is perhaps the single most paralyzing fear I've ever felt, and it has been ever since I was a child.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your book.

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: My series, The Rift, chronicles (gasp!) the end of civilization following the accidental release of a strange and deadly virus (that is very old and could be mystical in nature) that turns everyday folks into murderous, deformed monstrosities and causes the recently dead to rise and walk.  The first book, The Fall, chronicles the original outbreak through the eyes of a select number of everyday folks so we can get an idea about how normal people might deal with this sort of thing.  It sets the framework for the series and also introduces a bit the more supernatural elements of the story, which are opposing forces of good and evil that have their roots firmly entrenched in ancient myth.

The second book, Dead of Winter, forces the characters to hide out when a massive snowstorm hits the east coast.  This storm lasts for weeks on end, bringing all progress to a halt.  The book deals with the issues of loneliness and isolation, how we can sequester ourselves away from those closest to us when all seems lost, both inwardly and outwardly.  This is my favorite of the four books, and comes the closest to being an outright zombie story.  The emotion is strong, and the theme of self-exploration is one that I hope to further in the coming volumes.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your protagonist.

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: I actually have a few, seeing as the books - especially Dead of Winter - follow three distinct storylines all populated by different characters.  But the most important are Joshua Benoit, a 25-year-old loser from New Hampshire who receives messages from a strange, ethereal lady and must lead his fellow survivors south; William Mathis, a former English professor at Penn State who'd spent the last 15 years before the outbreak in prison for doing something rather heinous (which he thinks is justified); and Corky Ludlow, a happy-go-lucky beast of a man, the type who're physically intimidating and yet wouldn't hurt a fly, who is struggling with inner turmoil stemming from a dark period in his past where he did something he regrets.

These three characters represent what I find to be the three aspects of society that constantly butt heads: Faith (Josh), Intelligence (William), and Duty (Corky).

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What can you tell us about your background?

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: I was born in Cape Cod and raised in Northern Connecticut by a pair of wonderful and dedicated parents.  I dropped out of college (where I was studying to become an English teacher) very early because I 1) was a pretty immature kid, and 2) I fathered a child.  I've worked at blue-collar jobs all of my adult life, yet have always taken time to immerse myself in reading.  I stopped writing in my early twenties when I fell into a deep depression, even though throughout my whole life I've only been happy when I've had a pen in my hand.  It wasn't until I met my wife Jessica, a fabulous artist and my partner in everything, that I went back to doing what I was meant to do...create stories.  I've never been happier.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What have you done and are you doing to promote your work?

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: Let's see.  I started a website, submitted the books to reviewers, started my own review blog, paid for advertising (epic fail!), and completed interviews such as these.  However, the most important thing I've done is get to know and become friends with fellow authors.  It does wonders for both furthering your craft and allowing for added exposure.  Without a doubt this is the most important step.  We're nothing without our contemporaries.  We teach and guide and support each other, which is all that really matters.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Would you like to ask me a question?

ROBERT J. DUPERRE: Well well.  This is tough, considering how much ground you and I covered in our interview a few months back.  But let's see...

Okay, how about this.  What would you consider to be the most influential individual piece of American fiction?

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: It wouldn’t be a book. America’s greatest influence this far has been cinema. If we really mean, what piece of American fiction has had the greatest effect upon the world, I don’t think any author can compare to the effect George Lucas has had.

You didn’t ask me what the “greatest” piece of American fiction was, or the “best.” Do you remember that scene in Reign of Fire, when the dragons have burned down civilization and the last few survivors are hiding with their children in a bunker while trying to bring them up? They perform a version of Star Wars, as if it were Shakespeare, Peter Pan, King Arthur, or a passage from the Bible. I think that’s the level of influence that we can rank Star Wars at. If civilization fell, if all the books were burned and the hard-drives were wiped, we would still hear the name “Luke Skywalker” a thousand years from now. Star Wars would survive the apocalypse.





NOAHAN AUTHOR INTERVIEW – MIKE FROST

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What attracts you to stories about the end of the world?

MIKE FROST: Wow, start right out with the psychoanalysis. Why would anybody want to write about the end of the world? Pull up a couch.

I’ve been attracted to stories about the end of the world for just about my entire life. I remember as a child going to the museum to watch a viewing of Star Trek, the Motion Picture. Before the film, some guy gets up in front of the room and gives a little lecture about the solar system. Now, I’m probably five or six at the time, and they’ve got all the kids up in the front of the room sitting on the floor. So this guy, he says that one day the sun is going to explode. Now he just got finished telling us that we all live on this little blue planet that circles the sun, and the sun is going to explode. Maybe I was advanced for my age, but this freaked me the hell out! I mean, go get up and throw up freaked out. You just tell a six year old that everyone he knows is going to die. Needless to say, I didn’t make it through the movie.

My first fascination with surviving the end of the world came from the Twilight Zone. You know the one with the guy who gets locked in the bank vault and survives. I think that was the first time that I got the idea that everyone could die and there might still be people around to see it. I always wondered why that guy just didn’t go and find himself some new glasses though…

OK, enough about my childhood. What attracts me to stories about the end of the world is seeing what people do in reaction to it. It’s the aspect of man that makes the stories interesting. Will he help his fellow man? What are the characters natures? I mean a true end-of-the-world story has nobody in it. Poof, here comes the comet and there goes the neighborhood. Nobody likes that. Unless you’re telling a story about how the cockroaches rebuild…hey there’s an idea.

So, to answer your question: It’s the fact that most end of the world stories aren’t really about the end of the world, but just man’s struggle to rebuild the world and how he gets along with other men that draws me to them. It’s about the nature of humanity, and as I try to show in my book, there’s more than one way to go about it.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What are some of your favorite post-apocalyptic stories? Why?

MIKE FROST: I read a TON of post-apocalyptic stores getting ready to write my book, but my favorites (from the classical, published works) would have to be Lucifer’s Hammer and The Stand.

I like Lucifer’s Hammer as a stories because it fits with my overall goal of a good post-apocalyptic tale – a tale about people coming together to survive. Same thing with the Stand, only you get the weird religious aspect as well. Not that these two works are by any means the end-all-be-all of PA writing. I love a good zombie/vampire tale just like the next guy, but for my taste, you can beat a good old dig your bunker and raid the canned goods aisle doomsday book.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also talk about some of the newer works I’ve read and really enjoyed. The American Apocalypse series by nova, Static Mayhem by Edward Aubry and of course, Luminous and Ominous by Noah K Mullette-Gillman.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Do you think civilization deserves to fall? Why or why not?

MIKE FROST: Do I think civilization deserves to fail : Yes, probably. Do I want to live in a world where we get what we deserve, not really.  Civilizations rise and fall all the time. Rome rose out of the fall of the Greeks. History is full of civilizations falling. You could say that the American civilization of the 1950’s fell with the 1960’s.

The fall of a civilization, to me, is the transition from one cultural norm to the next.  One day, the economy will

collapse, a comet/meteor/space alien will crash/land on earth and wipe out civilization. If mankind makes it, there will be some kind of new civilization to take its place.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: If a world-wide zombie outbreak occurred, what would you do?

MIKE FROST: Grab the shotgun and try to make it to the mall, of course :-)

It really depends on what kind of zombies you are talking about.  If it’s the slow, Shaun of the Dead zombies, I’d look for a small group to join up with (with my shotgun and chain saw ready), and try to make it to some remote island where we could hold out until they were done eating themselves.  The most important thing here is to make sure that you’ve got the right mix of people. Don’t want too many guys without women, or too much drama. It’d be nice to find a nice canned food warehouse on an island with about ten women guarding the place looking for a man to repopulate the earth.

If it’s the Resident Evil super zombies, well then I hope brains taste good.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What scares you?

MIKE FROST: Spiders and snakes.

What really scares me is that it might all come true and I’d be forced to actually live through some of the things I’ve written about. Unlike my characters, I’m not too sure that I’d be up to it.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your book.

MIKE FROST: Homo Luminous is a post-apocalyptic hero’s journey in the classical sense.

It begins with a normal day, and follows two main character, friends David Werden and Chris Collins as the world they know is torn apart by natural disaster.  Each follows his own path, struggling to come to grips with how the planet is changing (weather is central), eventually coming together to seek out answers to the strange things that are happening to them along with the world.

Both David and Chris have their own personal issues to overcome, and realize that only together can they rise above their issues, and find a way to survive.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your protagonist.

MIKE FROST: David Werden is the primary driver of the story. David is a mid-thirties low level manager of the small IT group at Hearts of Song Publishing house based in Birmingham, Alabama.  David has bounced round a bit, tried to do something other than technology work, but always finds his way back to the technology world.

David is a single guy, who has been pining away for the sister of his best friend, Chris Collins. Becky Collins-Matthews married young, had children with one of Chris’s fraternity brothers.

David is a natural leader at work, but doesn’t allow that confidence to show in his personal life. All that changes when his job becomes keeping a small band of survivors alive after the end of the world.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What can you tell us about your background?

MIKE FROST: I’ve got a lot in common with David. Except that my best friend does not have a sister, and I don’t work for a publishing company (unfortunately).

I’m 35 and manage a technology group for a bank headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m an Alabama native, graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in History. I stayed for awhile (trying to shake that whole technology thing) taking graduate classes in History and Library Sciences.  I live in Birmingham with my three feline writing assistance and often take advantage of the natural beauty of Alabama, enjoying the state parks and natural wonders of the South.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What have you done and are you doing to promote your work?

MIKE FROST: I’ve set up a website (mikefrostbooks.com) and have been using Google Adwords to drive traffic to the site. I’ve also been promoting the book on Facebook and using word of mouth (to anyone who will listen). I’ve also been posting to post-apocalyptic related forms and user groups.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Would you like to ask me a question?

MIKE FROST: First thing is, I’d like to thank you for putting this together. 

As a promising self-published author, I’d like to get your opinion on the publishing industry today.  Why do you think so many authors are choosing the self-publishing route, opposed to seeking out agents and publishers? 

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: You know, when I finished writing Luminous and Ominous I wondered for a moment if I should consider taking the traditional route and at least trying to send it out to agents and publishers. The reason that I didn’t was the timeline. If I mailed out the manuscript today, I wouldn’t expect to hear back from ANYONE for 3-6 months minimum. Then, even if everything went ideally, it could be 18 months more until my books sees print.

I expect to write a lot of books in the next 2 years. I think that’s what I should concentrate my efforts on, not spending my time groveling at the gate-keepers’ knees to be noticed.

Also, I put myself in the publishers’ shoes: Who would you rather offer a contract to? A new and untested author, or someone who has self-published and proven that their work can sell thousands of copies with minimal promotion?

I sincerely believe that the old, slow, degrading submission process will be dead and gone within five years. Self-publishing will be the best way to get the attention of the publishers and promoters in the future.

And, I think it’s going to lead to an explosion of creativity and quality! Think about it this way, if you or I were published tomorrow by Penguin, they wouldn’t want us to release another book for a year! In the self-publishing emodel, an author needs to keep publishing and release a new book every few months. How can we fail to become better writers by continuing to write book after book? There’s a myth that artists create one perfect golden snowflake (at age 23) and then die in orgasmic rapture. The truth is that we were meant to slave away diving deeper and deeper into our art until we drown in our extreme old age, millions of pages left behind smoldering at the surface.



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NOAHAN AUTHOR INTERVIEW – WILLIAM MEIKLE

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What attracts you to stories about the end of the world?

WILLIAM MEIKLE: There's something cathartic about seeing everything being torn down. It also makes for amusing daydreams when the boss is being a tool or when the commute seems to take forever. And who doesn't think they couldn't do better at building a society if given a chance?

So there's that, and there's also the sheer spectacle of the thing... the same reason people like to slow down to look at car crashes. There's a "there but the for grace of God" vibe you get when watching or reading the world being torn down. Emmerlich and Devlin hooked into that early and have made a pot of money out of those very same vibes.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What are some of your favorite post-apocalyptic stories? Why?

WILLIAM MEIKLE: I started young and at first it was from a Science Fiction perspective, and the British ones from the '50s and 60's that got my attention, in particular John Wyndham's DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS and THE CHRYSALIDS. Them, and A CANTICLE FOR LIEBOWITZ were my earliest introductions to the form. After that came tales of cosmic disaster, mainly Lieber's THE WANDERER and Niven and Pournelle's LUCIFER'S HAMMER. My interest was further piqued by Terry Nation's TV show THE SURVIVORS, and Stephen King's THE STAND, the first to being real horror to the genre IMHO. But my favorite in the genre is by Robert Macammon. His SWAN SONG is a roller coaster blockbuster which eschew's King's religious trappings for non-stop action and gritty realism mixed with a slug of the supernatural. My kind of tale.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Do you think civilization deserves to fall? Why or why not?

WILLIAM MEIKLE: There is much that is good about civilisation that I'd certainly miss, such as books and entertainment, central heating and modern medicine. But on the whole, civilisation as mankind defines it is hell-bent on destroying the ecosystem and we're too stupid to stop shitting where we eat. I don't think it's a matter of why or why not. We're now at a stage where it's only a matter of when. I just hope it's a few more years yet.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: If a world-wide zombie outbreak occurred, what would you do?

WILLIAM MEIKLE: I have a small island off the coast of Newfoundland in mind. It has an artesian well, plenty of fish and seabirds to harvest, and some run down buildings from an abandoned settlement that could be made habitable quickly. I'd have to dig up the small graveyard to make sure nothing's coming up out of the ground, but it's been disused for many years, so any revenants will be a bit brittle by now :-)

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What scares you?

WILLIAM MEIKLE: Cancer. That's the biggie -- the silent, invisible killer inside. It's taken many friends and family and is the real monster that infects my psyche. In the face of that, all fictional beasts and bogles fade in comparison.

Cancer is a monster.

I write about monsters, and have been doing so for a long span of years. Just recently I've started thinking more about why and taking a harder look at my motivations. A look back at several recent things I've done was revealing. THE INVASION features an alien invasion that comes in the form of an organism from space that eats anything in its path, transforming it into something different and unnatural. My short story THE COLOUR THAT CAME TO CHISWICK features a colour out of space that gets into beer and, when consumed, eats the drinker away from the inside out. A story sale to another anthology features gross body changes and loss of identity, and even my current work in progress, ostensibly just a little creature feature disaster story, features genetic modification leading to crawling chaos. I may not have been consciously aware of it, but it's obvious to me now that the Big C has been on my mind.

Cancer has been a presence in my life for as long as I can remember. I first came across it in the late Sixties. My Gran's brother came back to town to die with his family. I was fascinated by this man, so thin as to be almost skeletal, wound in clothes that were many sizes too large for his frame, his skin so thin that I could see his blood moving... not pumping, for it had long since stopped moving enough to keep him alive long. He rarely spoke, just sat by the fire as if trying to soak up heat, his eyes frequently wet from tears, not of sadness, but of pain. He lasted for months in that condition until it finally took him and I knew then that cancer was a monster.

Since then it has taken others, both friends and family; a young mother with two pre-teen children, a cousin who was like a big brother to me, and a girl I never got to know for she was taken before her twentieth birthday. Other family members are still fighting. There's my Dad, who meets it all with a good humour that is humbling, and my godmother who has battled bowel cancer into remission twice. 

Cancer is a monster.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your book.

WILLIAM MEIKLE: The first science fiction I ever encountered was Fireball XL5, one of the early Gerry Anderson productions. I was only about four years old, but I was hooked immediately on spaceships and adventure in the stars. I grew up during the exciting part of the space race, staying up nights to watch space-walks then moon missions, eyes wide in wonder as Armstrong made his small step. At the same time Gerry Anderson had continued to thrill me, with Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. The Americans joined in, with Lost in Space then, as color TV reached Scotland, Star Trek hit me full between the eyes. 

Also at the same time, my reading was gathering pace. I'd started on comics early with Batman and Superman. As the '60s drew to a close, Marvel started to take over my reading habits more, and I made forays into reading novels; Clarke and Asimov at first, and most of the Golden-Age works. By the early Seventies I had graduated to the so-called New Wave, Moorcock, Ellison, Delaney and Zelazny dominating my reading, and they led me on to reading, then writing horror.

I more or less stopped reading Science Fiction round about then, but I never stopped watching, especially after Star Wars gave the visual genre a huge push forward. I re-discovered the '50s classics after the advent of the VCR and quickly built a huge collection of movies, many of which I still watch avidly.

Which brings me, in a long winded manner, to the novella, The Invasion. Invasions, and the resulting carnage, have always loomed big in my favorites of the genre, through War of the Worlds, Earth vs Flying Saucers, the original V series and even the spectacular failure of Independence Day. Neil Jackson asked me if I was interested in writing a four-part serial, and laid out a basic timeline. I ran with it, and soon discovered that I had a story to tell.

To regresss slightly, another part of my early reading, and the one that united my Science Fiction reading with my horror reading, was the works of H P Lovecraft. I realised that the Invasion in my story would have Lovecraftian antecedents, in that it would come from space, and be completely uncaring of the doings of the human race. My training as a biologist also made me realise that aliens should be -really- alien, not just simulcra of pre-existing terrestrial forms. Once I had that in my mind, it didn't take much to come up with a "color out of space" that would engulf the planet.

Most Invasion movies concentrate on the doings in big cities, and with the involvement of the full force of the military. I wanted to focus more on what it would mean for the people. Living as I am in Canada, in a remote Eastern corner, I was able to draw on local knowledge and home in on people already used to surviving in extreme conditions. I just upped the ante.

So come with me, to a winter storm in the Maritimes, where a strange green snow is starting to fall.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your protagonist.

WILLIAM MEIKLE: An interest in conspiracy theories and post-apocalypse survivalists gave me one of the main characters, and the early parts of the story are a news report from the bunker where he has retreated to ride out whatever is coming. 

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What can you tell us about your background?

WILLIAM MEIKLE: I'm a fifty-something Scotsman, now living in Newfoundland. 

I didn't chose writing, it chose me. The urge to write is more of a need, a similar addiction to the one I used to have for cigarettes and still have for beer.

I -nearly- became a scientist. I have a degree in Botany, specialising in the archaeological history that can be gleaned from studying peat bogs. But I couldn't get a grant for a PhD, then I followed a woman to London and ended up by accident more than design in a career in IT. I actually took it seriously for a while, but the need to write slowly welled up and subsumed it a few years back.

That, and the fact that I like to move around and not be tied to one place for any length of time has limited career opportunities a bit. According to my family I'm "away with the fairies" too often for anything else to hold my attention for long.

When I was at school my books and my guitar were all that kept me sane in a town that was going downhill fast. The steelworks shut and employment got worse. I -could- have started writing about that, but why bother? All I had to do was walk outside and I'd get it slapped in my face. That horror was all too real.

So I took up my pen and wrote. At first it was song lyrics, designed (mostly unsuccessfully) to get me closer to girls.   

I tried my hand at a few short stories but had no confidence in them and hid them away. And that was that for many years. 

I didn't get the urge again until I was past thirty and trapped in a very boring job. My home town had continued to stagnate and, unless I wanted to spend my whole life drinking (something I was actively considering at the time), returning there wasn't an option.

Back in the very early '90s I had an idea for a story... I hadn't written much of anything since the mid-70s at school, but this idea wouldn't leave me alone. I had an image in my mind of an old man watching a young woman's ghost.

That image grew into a story, that story grew into other stories, and before I knew it I had an obsession in charge of my life.

So it all started with a little ghost story, "Dancers"; one that ended up getting published in All Hallows, getting turned into a short movie, getting read on several radio stations, getting published in Greek, Spanish, Italian and Hebrew, and getting reprinted in The Weekly News in Scotland. 

Years on I've written other ghost stories, but have increasingly moved away from that first love towards more pulpy concerns, of men and monsters, beer and ciggies, big guns and loose women, swords and sorcery, aliens and mass carnage.

But just this past year, the cycle has turned again, and I find my interest in the spectre renewed. I've written several straight ghost stories for GWP chapbooks, had an ebook of CARNACKI: GHOSTFINDER tales published, and sold a handful of stories to professional anthologies featuring old-school haunts and spectres. 

Part of this renewed interest has to do with me starting to feel my age in my second half-century, where my aches and pains are growing and my youth seems ever further away, so that I find myself looking forward to what might lie ahead. 

But mostly I think it's love... a love for the old stories, for the strange and the weird, for the supernatural in its more obscure forms.

People write for different reasons: some want to make a lot of money, some want to exorcise some personal demon, others because they are driven and can't imagine doing anything else. So "accomplishment" is relative. The most important thing is to be able to clearly convey what you want to say to your readers (and if that means using a split infinitive, then so be it.). How you do that, your style, is what you have to work at.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What have you done and are you doing to promote your work?

WILLIAM MEIKLE: To be facetious, the most important thing a writer can do is write. The work should speak for itself, and word of mouth will do the promotion for you. Many writers get themselves into a twist worrying about promotion, and get into a frenzy blaming publishers for lack of sales. They would be far better off using that energy to write something else that might be more successful in getting a reader's attention.

Of course, in an ideal world, the writer would just sit in his or her garret and churn out prose, with the publisher handling everything else. But the real world does intrude. For me, the best thing I can do is put myself about, in interviews, in my newsletter, on my website, in newsgroups and in writing as much as I can.

Also, I try to think laterally. I got a lot of new subscribers (i.e possible book buyers) to my newsletter by running two competitions to allow someone to become a vampire in the Watchers series. As a result subscribers Gord Rollo and Jean Munro have both been immortalized in books 2 and 3 respectively. Basically, I just keep jumping up and down shouting "Here I am, look at me." Slowly, people are starting to take notice.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Would you like to ask me a question?

WILLIAM MEIKLE: As a Noah, are -you- ever tempted to build a metaphorical ark and hunker down away from it all? 

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: I remember that in third grade I had a really horrible and cruel teacher. I used to fantasize about having a machine that I could climb in. It was something like a small spaceship and something like a cage that I could use to keep the world out. There would be a bed, and food, and plenty to read. No one could get in and yell at me or make me do anything…

Beyond that, my novel Luminous and Ominous really is about exactly that. There is a shelter and room for a few people, but not everyone you know. Who do you save? Who do you leave behind? That’s not really that different from an ark, is it?



NOAHAN AUTHOR INTERVIEW – BRIAN KITTRELL –

BRIAN KITTRELL: I'm both pleased and honored to be asked a few questions and share some of my thoughts with the community out there.  While some authors shy away from such things, I see each of them as an opportunity to get to know me as an author and as a person.  I'd like to thank Noah for including me in this and providing this opportunity.
 
NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What attracts you to stories about the end of the world?
 
BRIAN KITTRELL: The end of the world has always been an interesting subject to me.  I think the first draw and inspiration came from the fears that I and many people experienced from the Cold War era.  I was young during the end of the Cold War, but I still remember vivid scenes on the news about President Reagan's speeches, and I even remember the day that they announced that the Soviet Union was officially no more.  Then, we got well into the 90's and more recently after the year 2000 where we learned that the worst enemies of peace are those that we don't necessarily suspect.  They aren't the ones who make grand speeches on news networks or attend United Nations assemblies.
 
These days, apocalypse authors see the new enemy and create stories about how they think the world might end.  These can and often do come from things that you would not really expect or even see coming.  These are the hidden things of the world that most people don't enjoy talking about at dinner parties, but they are there, and they are very dangerous.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What are some of your favorite post-apocalyptic stories? Why?

 
BRIAN KITTRELL: I am actually a big fan of the 80's nuclear war apocalypse movies, like Testament and The Day After, to name two.  If you can even find a copy of Testment, you deserve some serious kudos; I've been looking, but it's hard to find.  The Day After is much easier to find.  Both stories show the effects of nuclear warfare on the small town Americans that would be most affected.  These people don't live near a major target, so they wouldn't be killed right away; they'd be left to deal with the hell of being left alive.
 
With my books, that's where I tend to focus my stories.  I start off before the event in The Survivor Chronicles series, go through the event, and follow through to the story that comes afterwards.  I find it both compelling when the story goes past the big, climactic battle scene and really shows the aftermath of the central theme of the story.
 
I'm also a fan of Tom Clancy's books-to-movies because they deal with similar situations.  Tom's heroes almost always save the world from Armageddon, so we differ in that regard: my books don't have the last minute hero, at least not to keep the apocalypse from occurring.
 
NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Do you think civilization deserves to fall? Why or why not?
 
BRIAN KITTRELL: Now that is certainly a complicated question.  In order to answer that one, I'll go into a little bit of my beliefs and then come out somewhere beyond that tangent with some sort of point.
 
First, I can't say that everyone in our society necessarily deserves to be without the luxuries and protections that civilization provides.  That being said, it might be entertaining to an extent or interesting perhaps to see what all those oil tycoons would do if their money meant nothing anymore.  It might be interesting to see how people would react to the government becoming nothing more than a roving band of raiders because they have most of the big guns.  It would be both frightening and interesting to see how people would continue on without the bonds or aid of a civilized structure.
 
Some people might call be strange or weird for saying that any of the above might be interesting.  As a student of sociology - the study of how groups interact with each other - I can say with confidence that considering such things is neither strange nor weird, and that thinking about such things becomes just as relevant to our current circumstances as it was during the Cold War.
 
Second, based on all of this, I would definitely be against civilization falling apart due to the kinds of difficulties that would be inherent in such an event.  People that are adamant about the destruction of all civilization in favor of anarchy - the ones that really believe that it is the best way - are either insane or they are not considering some of the variables involved.  Society protects everyone - even Anarchists - from many of the problems that the early humans had as a result of the benefits that civilization now offers.  I look at it like this: if you tell an Anarchist that he has cancer, I'm sure he'd have no problem checking into a hospital to see if they could save his life.  Such would be against his beliefs and principles - if he were a true Anarchist, he wouldn't believe in hospitals because they are a product of civilization - but, such paradoxes are life.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: If a world-wide zombie outbreak occurred, what would you do?
 
BRIAN KITTRELL: I can answer this question in two ways.  One, if I was at work, and two, if I was at home.
 
If I was at work, I would probably be forced to leave my post and abandon everyone else to their own fates.  I'm an emergency dispatcher - if you dial 911, you talk to someone like me - so, I'd either stay here and get eaten, or I'd have to leave my post and try to escape.  If I was able to escape, I'd try to make it home as soon as possible.
 
I won't reveal the nature, number, or quality of the firearms that I own, but I would get them, make sure they were loaded, and make sure they were working properly.  I would then gather my family and immediately travel away from the large cities in search of the most remote, backwoods place I could find.  That's not terribly difficult in my home state of Mississippi; there are supposedly still people hiding out that still think the Civil War is going on.  (That last bit was a joke, by the way.)
 
The key to surviving the zombie apocalypse is getting away from everyone else and remaining isolated.  The more people you have, the higher the risk that you, too, will become a zombie.
 
NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What scares you?
 
BRIAN KITTRELL: My deepest fears involve being either 1) eaten alive (by really anything, not just zombies), 2) burned alive, or 3) drowning.  So, I guess you could say that I have a great fear of death, but the fear leans more towards dying in an extremely painful or helpless way.
 
More metaphorically, I have a great fear of the people who feel like there's nothing wrong with the world, that everything is perfectly fine and will continue to be perfectly fine so long as we just keep saying that it's perfectly fine.  It could be the close-mindedness of it or the denial factor of it, but it is scary on a totally different level.
 
Oh, and clowns.  They scare me, too.  I was afraid of Tim Curry (the clown from IT, Stephen King) until I saw him in the Home Alone series.  (Well, maybe it was until I saw him in the movie Clue.)
 
NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your book.
 
BRIAN KITTRELL: Ah, the pivotal question. The opportunity that every author waits for: the "plug your book" free reign. I'll keep it short.

The basic idea of the book and the series is to present the characters involved in the crisis.  Instead of being just a zombie story, the story focuses on the group of survivors.  The survivors are caught in the midst of a viral missile attack that.  Little did they know, the virus turns people into flesh-eating monsters.  I've always been a huge zombie fan, but I wanted to present the story as something that anyone - even non-zombie fans - could relate to and enjoy.  Most of my reviewers have actually been those who traditionally did not enjoy zombie stories, and some are from people who think zombies are generally a silly idea and indulging in such fictions are a waste of time.

The biggest problem I have in spreading the word about my book is that most people think zombie stories are badly constructed and usually cheesy in nature.  I tend to agree with them.  Many people that have read the book comment that, despite the fact that it is a zombie apocalypse, the book is truly good.  They remark that if people would just give it a chance, they'd find a truly rewarding story and experience.
 
NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your protagonist.

BRIAN KITTRELL: The protagonist in the first book is Nadene Schafer, a 13-year-old girl, who has a special gift, a sort of psychic ability to see parts of the future or feel major events in the nearby zombies.  She's troubled by her parents' divorce, trying to cope with being a teenager, and, now, trying to adjust to the apocalypse.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What can you tell us about your background?

BRIAN KITTRELL: I'm a pretty normal guy, really.  I tell people that anyone could do what I do when they tell me how much they enjoy the books, and they are quick to retort that people can't just weave a story like that, especially one they've enjoyed as much as my zombie stories.  I just shrug and say, 'It's not *that* difficult or amazing'.  I can't seem to ever win the argument.

I work at the E-911 center in my city, so I answer 911 calls and dispatch the police and fire department around the city to handle calls that we receive.  When we don't have any calls going out or coming in, some of my co-workers watch TV, others chat, some balance their checkbooks or review their bills.  I write books.  It started out as just a stress reliever and a way to pass the long hours.  It turned into a hobby.  When I completed The Dying Times (Nadene's Story), a co-worker read the story and said it was really good.  So, I sent it to a reviewer who writes for the Midwest Book Review.  She said it was really good, too.  They both offered changes that they thought would make it better, or areas that might need some tender loving care to read better.  After a little time in editing, Nadene's Story broke out onto the stage.  I immediately started writing The War of the Dead (Andy' Story), and it is due out in February, 2011.  The third book in the series is called Prisoner and Survivor, and it's almost finished and ready to go to editing.  It should be ready in May, 2011.

I write fast, and I don't want to keep readers waiting for the next in the series for long periods of time.  I've heard of series taking years between the different books.  I don't want to be like that.  If I don't feel the story will be ready, I'll push the release date back a few weeks or something like that, but I haven't had to do that yet.

Other than that, I went to high school, graduated, got a job, got married, and we have our first child now.  I'm not classically educated or college studied.  I am one of those kind of people who teaches themselves things and just does them.  I have been teaching myself PHP programming for a year or two, I taught myself how to format a book, design a cover, and so forth, how to design my book trailers and commercials (search The Dying Times on YouTube), how to work with software to create a very good audio version of the book (a computer is reading it, but it sounds just like a human), and so forth.

All of these things, of course, are only in support of the creative endeavor of writing the book and bringing the characters to life, which cannot be taught or learned.  it comes from within.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What have you done and are you doing to promote your work?

BRIAN KITTRELL: Promotion is hard for everyone right now.  The economy is down, unemployment is up, and it seems that everybody is an author these days, whether their books and stories are any good or not.  It's hard in non-fiction, but even harder in fiction:  everyone has a story to tell, and anyone who can expand it to more then 50,000 words publishes a book.  Thus, there are a huge number of books out there.  You run into the problem where there are so many books, customers don't know what to do.  There are so many choices out there that many readers have simply elected to remain with the NY Times Bestseller list.  They are missing many great books made by non-NY Timers, but I can understand how they feel.  Trying to sift through almost 1 million Kindle titles or over 8 million print books is a daunting task.

The increase in demand for advertising causes the advertising costs to go up, making it even harder for new people with quality books to break into the market.  So, everyone has to do what they can to get the word out.

Currently, I am running a contest for a Kindle 3G giveaway.  The website for that is 
http://www.latenitebooks.com/contests-giveaways/.  I am also actively promoting by sharing interviews with bloggers and giving out copies of the book for review.  Anything to help get the word out, really.

I've also utilized Project Wonderful for cheaper advertising.  I've found that it's more effective than Google AdWords or Facebook Ads for books.  I've actually seen virtually 0 sales from Google or Facebook.  I guess I'm not prepared to pay almost $3 per click like they want.  Until they can guarantee that their "clicks" turn into "sales", I'll keep paying my pennies.

Thanks a bunch, Noah!  I really enjoyed it!




NOAHAN AUTHOR INTERVIEW – JOHN SAUER:

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What are some of your favorite post-apocalyptic stories? Why?

JOHN SAUER: This is one of my favorite categories to read because it offers mankind such awesome opportunities to rise above adversity. The Stand and The Passage are two big favorites. Earth Abides also has a treasured place on my bookshelf. In a similar vein but with a scifi bent, Blood Music is also a compelling read. What they all have in common is that they are very well written with well-paced action, great description and prose that brings out the best in English language.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Do you think civilization deserves to fall? Why or why not?

JOHN SAUER: I would say that it does not deserve to fall, but change is inevitable. As the Earth’s population grows and time moves on, the odds for an apocalyptic event, anything from a lethal pandemic to world war to a wandering giant rock from the sky, increase dramatically. Add to that the rise and fall of greedy empires and it provides ample fuel for thoughts of “when.”

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: If a world-wide zombie outbreak occurred, what would you do?

JOHN SAUER: Lock ‘n Load baby. The only good zombie is a dead zombie and I am a master of the head shot.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What scares you?

JOHN SAUER: Most of the things I was afraid of have come to pass [or I have embraced them] and I lived through them. Things I am not afraid of but would find very unpleasant include being eaten alive by zombies, being caught in very small confined spaces and running from plagues that in the end, get everyone.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your book.

JOHN SAUER: The Divided Man is a post-apocalyptic adventure that takes place in a world wiped nearly clean by nuclear and biological war. It’s so much about the end of the world. It’s about the beginning. The Divided Man begins on December 29, 1890 with the Wounded Knee Massacre, where the U.S. Calvary put a brutal end to the Ghost Dance, a spiritual movement that sought to bring back the world the way it was before the white man came, with a few important differences. Before the soldiers finish their slaughter one small boy dances a prayer to save his people and in his dying vision, reaches across time to the one who can lead them to this vision.

In summer 2012 that prayer is about to be answered. Luke Kimball is The Divided Man, a global security expert who isolates himself from emotional involvement because people who get close to him end up dead. On the eve of the war that destroys the world the Ghost Dance prayer finds him, spinning the Hoop of his life in directions he could not have imagined. Claimed by the prayer, Luke is connected to past and future, chosen to be a savior of legend, a unifying force of past and future, of man and god. Luke must awaken the Sacred Tree of Life and balance the harmony between human and spirit existence or lives of all will cease to exist. Opposing him is the Manitou, an elk-headed god who has stolen Luke’s soul and requires death for its return.

Luke’s quest takes him across a land sundered by war and on the verge of miraculous change, far into the realms of once-mythical gods and deep within him to face the demons that have haunted his life. His journey is inward as well. Luke is guided into the Spirit World and across time by Native American deities who help him discover his destiny as not only as a human savior, but as a god.

The Divided Man started out as a pure adventure but as I learned more about the Ghost Dance and started to apply my changes in perception about all things godly and mythological, it became a quest for Luke to discover who he really is and to touch the inner spark of the divine that I believe we all carry inside of us. The common ground among all the characters in the Divided Man is that they are cognizant of who they are because of the choices they have made. It’s a big, fast-paced read full of action and adventure, fantasy and reality, and leaves the door open to endless possibilities. Anyone interested can read more about The Divided Man at www.dividedman.com.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your protagonist.

JOHN SAUER: Luke Kimball is a complex man who has seen the best and worst in people. A professional soldier, he has hunted and been hunted, experienced deep personal loss and has learned to isolate himself from close personal interaction so that he does not have to feel. He embodies the best qualities of the soldier and defender and also the consequences of having practiced war. He has tasted the bitter fruits of revenge and lived to tell about them and in spite of events in his past, has remained a good man.

As the gods pair him down to the pure essence of himself, Luke accepts his role and commits every fiber of his being to the salvation of mankind. If you have ever been driven to accomplish something greater than yourself, you will relate to Luke Kimball.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What can you tell us about your background?

JOHN SAUER: I am a writer who was raised by a writer and an artist so we always had books and creative activities in the house. I was encouraged to read and to create, so wanting to write came naturally. I was raised in the Midwest and went to college in Minnesota, which made it the perfect starting point for The Divided Man. In the past I have been a video game script writer and producer, professional big game fisherman, copywriter, brand developer and glass artist. I have learned that wonderful things happen when you break convention and believe in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism; we create our own destiny.

My other published works include books on how to beat video games from Prima Publishing and IDG Books. The Divided Man is my first work of fiction. When I am not writing, I recycle glass into countertops and sinks through my studio GleenGlass in Vancouver Washington.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What have you done and are you doing to promote your work?

JOHN SAUER: Promoting an e-book has been a challenging and enlightening experience. I started out by sending press releases to all the local papers and most of the major city papers, opened a Face Book page and got my friends and family on board, then started to post in book blogs and forums. I think that more reviewers are beginning to warm to reviewing e-books but the self-published author has to compete with publishing houses and established relationships. The key to self-publishing success is finding a way to create a community groundswell behind your work and social media can be a great tool for that. But it is an ongoing process.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Would you like to ask me a question?

JOHN SAUER: I want to learn more about the blue bugs. Enough so that I am buying Luminous and Ominous. It reminds me of Blood Music by Greg Bear, one of my favorite reads, and I am curious as to how you conceived the concept for the book.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: That’s very kind of you John! I think that I’ve been dreaming about this story for many many years. I remember looking around the room during my college classes and wondering, “What if the world ended and only the people in the room survived?”

Of course, my name is Noah, so I may have that myth playing at the back of my subconscious, but it is an amazing one. Imagine if everything you knew was about to be destroyed and you could save just a little bit? You could save a few people, a few books, a few animals? That’s where Luminous and Ominous came from.

As I started to write the book I ambushed several friends with the problem, and asked them what we would do if we had 3 days warning of the end of the world: who would we bring? What would we need? Some of the actual dialogue from those conversations made it into the book. It’s a heck of a conversation to have with a friend over a beer, to debate which friends should be allowed to survive! I hope that when you read it, you’ll ask yourself these questions and see if you think you’d do any better than Henry did!




NOAHAN AUTHOR INTERVIEW – JOSEPH MITCHELL –

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What attracts you to stories about the end of the world?

JOSEPH MITCHELL: I mostly like to see how regular people would cope with the end of the world, when everything is turned upside down and the rules of society fall apart. It's easy to imagine our modern world plunged into chaos, and to imagine how you might cope with it yourself. I particularly like stories where regular people try to hold back the chaos and rebuild society anew, trying to make it better this time, unhindered by politics and laws of the past. It rarely goes well, but I love to see them try.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What are some of your favorite post-apocalyptic stories? Why?

JOSEPH MITCHELL: I have three favorites. Stephen King's The Stand has been my favorite novel for many years. I loved the diverse group of characters and following their individual struggles, watching them come together as the story progressed. It's a very long book and I liked that. Another favorite is Robert McCammon's Swan Song, a story very much like The Stand, but centered on survivors of a nuclear war. Like The Stand, it's a very long read that follows a lot of different people as they try to survive, separating into good and bad camps. In some ways it's even more epic than The Stand. My third favorite is more recent; Max Brooks' World War Z. I really loved this book and couldn't put it down. It's a realistic depiction of what might really happen in a global zombie outbreak as described by survivors in interviews after the war is over. It does a great job conveying the epic scale of the war through interviews with soldiers, generals, world leaders, and a number of regular people with interesting stories of how they survived the war.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Do you think civilization deserves to fall? Why or why not?

JOSEPH MITCHELL: I think some aspects of the society I live in could use a reboot, but I wouldn't want to see society crumble the way I like to read about it in books. I'm actually very optimistic about the future, though increasingly impatient that it's taking humanity so long to become truly 'civilized.’ Things like universal health-care (not the farce that's in the news lately, but more like Canada or other countries in Europe), true equality for all people, an end to borders and prejudice; these are some of the things I'd expect of a truly civilized society. We're not nearly there yet, but I think we're making slow progress toward a better future. I hope so, at least.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: If a world-wide zombie outbreak occurred, what would you do?

JOSEPH MITCHELL: I live in Pennsylvania, which is well known for its zombie outbreaks in fiction. Honestly, I think it's just a matter of time until a real zombie outbreak happens. It might take another hundred years, but life imitates art, and I would not be at all surprised to discover some researchers are working on the 'super soldier' project that will give us a real-life zombie outbreak as seen in so many stories. It's probably going to happen someday, if some mad scientist has his way. If an outbreak were to occur now, I would grab my sword and whatever other weapons I could find and head up to my parents’ house in the woods. They've got guns. We would barricade and hold out there, maybe banding together with other people in that small town and start taking out zombies as they appear. I'd be holding out in a rural country house just like in the original Night of the Living Dead. After that, raiding the nearby town for supplies in a battle truck my brother and I would outfit in his garage.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What scares you?

JOSEPH MITCHELL: Flying insects that bite or sting. I was stung by bees repeatedly while growing up. One landed on my lollipop when I was still in a stroller and I ate it, but it stung the inside of my mouth. After a few other incidents, I really can't stand bees. One time I was standing at the top of a ladder painting, and a bee flew near my face. With no hesitation or thought, I jumped backward and saw the rungs of the ladder fly past as I fell, landing solidly on my feet at the bottom. Luckily, I was only about eight feet up, but I might have done the same thing at any height. If I had to choose a bee sting over broken ankles, I'd take the sting. That's logical, but I couldn't think logically in that moment.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your book.

JOSEPH MITCHELL: It's about three young men who get cryogenically frozen and stored for five centuries, sleeping right through a global war that reduced most of civilization to ruins. By the time they wake up, chapter one of my story, two centuries have passed since the great war, and the world is a very different place. I developed a complex future history of the world for this. Two centuries of technological progress takes us to a far future like something you might see on Star Trek or Blade Runner, and then it's all destroyed in a devastating world war. At the start of the story, the apocalypse is ancient history; something that happened two centuries earlier, further back than anyone's great great grandfather can remember. Mutations are common in the new world, some good and some bad. There are tribes and nations of various best-men and animal hybrids that were originally created through genetic engineering before the apocalypse and have since evolved to live in the new world. There's actually way more detail to all of this than I ever let on in the book, but it's a solid foundation for the adventure my protagonists will have upon waking up.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Please tell us about your protagonist.

JOSEPH MITCHELL: I tell the story through the eyes of two main characters, both young men in their early twenties. One is an introverted computer nerd who looks at futuristic technology with awe and wonder, while the other young man is a very outgoing former juvenile delinquent who loves to goof around and have fun all the time, not taking things very seriously. By telling the story through the eyes of these two very different people, I can paint a bigger picture of what's going on, as they see it.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What can you tell us about your background?

I was born and raised in New Jersey before my family moved to rural Pennsylvania when I was seventeen years old. Moving from the city to the country had a profound effect on me. First, being disconnected from all my friends and familiar surroundings, then, to my surprise, learning that I really enjoyed living close to nature and wouldn't want to go back. It was inconvenient in some ways, having to drive five miles to the nearest town just to buy some groceries or fill up on gas, but I really liked the new friends I made, and doing things I never could have done back where I'd grown up. I've moved around to several different states, but I keep ending up back in Pennsylvania, where I'm still living now. I've worked a lot of different jobs in my life, but nothing very noteworthy. I've delivered pizza, drove a taxi, worked security, built computers, installed networks for businesses, washed dogs in my wife's grooming shop, produced computer animations for business and TV commercials, and lots of other jobs I'd just as soon forget now that I've found my true calling as a writer. I wish I had discovered it sooner, because I'd probably have twenty books out by now. I have a lot of catching up to do, and I'm very much looking forward to the next few years.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: What have you done and are you doing to promote your work?

JOSEPH MITCHELL: I do a lot of different things, but not nearly enough compared to most other authors I know. Mostly, I post short messages on the Amazon forums once or twice per month, hoping to catch the eye of some reader who'd enjoy my kind of story. I read and post at Kindleboards almost every day and it's like my second home, but I don't really think of that as promotion. I just love that place and the people there. I've submitted my novel to a handful of book reviewer's blogs, but I'm still on the waiting lists. I'm really not into in-your-face promotion, so I tend to let my book spread by word of mouth, which I wouldn't really recommend for anyone else. I've never spent any money on advertising to promote my book, mostly because I don't have any extra money to spare. What little I've been doing has been working so far, so I just like to see it keep going, taking off on its own at a slow pace while I write the next book.

NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Would you like to ask me a question?

JOSEPH MITCHELL: I know you were born and raised in Montclair New Jersey, which is almost right next to my home town of Bloomfield. Your family moved you to rural upstate New York when you were a teenager, very similar to how my parents moved me to rural Northeastern Pennsylvania. How did you like living in a rural town? Was there anything in particular you liked most about it?

 NOAH K. MULLETTE-GILLMAN: Oh I know Bloomfield very well! I used to walk home up Bloomfield Avenue after Middle school. My comic book store (The Montclair Book Centre) was just off of Bloomfield Avenue, and The Complete Strategist was just next door to that. To this day, the best Chinese food I’ve ever had was in Bloomfield.

I hated leaving Montclair! It was traumatic and I’m still not over it! I do think it was good for me in many ways to get into the woods, and I did make some really good friends who are still in my life today…. But leaving Montclair was one of the greatest traumas of my life. There’s no other way to say it. A fifteen year old, who can’t drive yet, doesn’t want to leave a big town and go live so deep in the wilderness that his nearest neighbor is a mile down the road.

Montclair is the best place I’ve ever lived.

Maybe when I left there, that was the REAL fall of civilization……



Well, that’s the end of the end of civilization! I hope a few of you made it out alive and have at least a few days’ supplies to tide you over!

Please do consider at least reading the free previews of our featured authors. We’ve obviously got some interesting and intelligent human beings. Let’s see if they can write too!

You can follow me on Twitter at: Noahlot

I can be contacted at Noah@Noahmullette-gillman.com

We have a brand new Facebook group for those who enjoy stories about the end of the world, Post-Apocalosers: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Post-Apocalosers/190578280953281

Finally,don't forget that anyone who comments on this page will be entered into William Meikle's contest to win a Kindle pre-loaded with 15 of his novels! (See his website for details, Noah is not involved in this promotion.) 

So tell us what you think!


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