Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!
Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?
Hopefully “Cast Upon The Water” is more of an entertainment than a prophecy. I don’t actually specify in my story exactly what caused the evident catastrophe, but it involves devastated land and rising waters. I don’t think you can read the story without thinking of climate change, and if it leads to a single reader taking that problem more seriously, great. For the most part, though, I just wanted to put a few characters in a terrible situation and see how they dealt with it.
What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre?
The world would be better off if more people read, period. What they read is obviously important, but secondary. Unfortunately, post-apocalyptic fiction probably is popular right now because so many people do have an impending sense of doom. This is nothing new—Mary Shelley wrote a novel about a global plague that wipes out humanity hundreds of years ago. The most important moment for the genre, though, was certainly the introduction of nuclear weapons, which suddenly made the end of the world something more than hypothetical. Now we have to worry about the bomb, about pandemics, and about the climate. These are all, by the way, problems made much worse by widespread, determined stupidity, which brings us back to people needing to read more.
Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author?
He obviously doesn’t always write in this genre, but I think the single greatest post-apocalyptic book I’ve read is “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy. It’s probably the text that was most influential on how I wrote my story.
Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story?
Is Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” too obvious?
If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do?
Cry some, I imagine, then try to find a library or someplace else with a stash of books where I could read away my remaining time. I’m not delusional enough to think I’d suddenly develop survival skills!
There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands?
The obvious choice is a kitchen knife, but truthfully my preference would be a baseball bat.
Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.
-I didn’t begin publishing fiction until I was in my 40s.
-I’ve been to games in 21 Major League Baseball parks and hope to see all of them in my lifetime.
-During the pandemic I became obsessive about building Lego sets.
What do you aim to give your readers?
Hopefully, a diverting and entertaining experience that will stick with them for a while. I hope most of my stories include a line, or an image, or a character that the reader will find themselves thinking about days later.
What are you working on now?
I write exclusively short stories, and almost all of them are in the mystery/crime genre. I usually have a few stories in different stages of development at any one time. By my count, I’ve had 85 stories published. I’m hoping to get to 100 by the end of the year!
Where can we find you online?
I have a website (https://jswalkerauthor.com/) and I’m on Twitter @JSWalkerAuthor. Among other things, the website has links to several of my stories that can be read online for free, so it’s a great way to get a taste of my work.
Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!
Thanks. I’m honored to be part of Tales from the Ruins!