Writing the Apocalypse During the Apocalypse
No doubt there's a lot going on in the world at the moment. We're in the middle of a pandemic. I keep thinking...I wrote this story, didn't I? Only, writers never expect their fiction to come true. Not like this...
Can you imagine what it would be like to have The Hunger Games (it might), Gone with the Wind (it did), or um...The Invisible Man (let's hope not), come true and move their spines to the non fiction shelves? The Hunger Games could represent a dismal destined future. Gone with the Wind was a part of our past and well, The Invisible Man, (excellent novel) is as far as we know, a fantasy.
What about the present? I wrote The China Pandemic seven years ago and some are claiming we're going through the events of the novel now. Some have even speculated that because I wrote the book...I visualized these circumstances and put them out there into the universe. I'm somehow responsible for this. I've even been called a racist in recent weeks because of the title of the book. And accused of profiting off of the present day circumstances from a book I wrote seven years ago.
None of these things are true of course. I'm a writer. It's what I do. It's also why I don't write about zombies. I've always believed reality can be tough enough. I don't write fantasy because I find modern day humanity interesting enough. I don't write horror because I can barely watch a horror movie without covering my eyes and movies stay with me for days just like books. I'll mull them over discerning every scene multiple times and I can't afford to scare myself silly.
As a child the movie Jaws made me afraid to visit the bathroom for weeks on end. Forget bath time...I'm not going in there. Could Jaws happen in reality? Yes. Large sharks have terrorized humans out of the water for centuries. Do you blame the writer for putting that scenario out there to become reality?
No, you don't. But...Peter Benchley was the author of Jaws. He, later in life, regretted writing the novel. Why? Because he put the fear of flesh shredding creatures lurking beneath the deep into the minds of little kid's like me. He shed light on the dangers of going into shark territory. The result became an irrational fear and subsequent, unnecessary over-culling of sharks. (I'm still terrified of sharks so don't ask me to pet one.)
And then it dawned on me. That's what I've done. That's my crime. I've exposed the fear of what men dread most, just as Benchley exposed what's under the water's edge. Pandemics have happened in the past. It's happening now. And they will likely happen in the future. And just like my childhood irrational fear of the bathroom, it's also irrational to pin the pandemic on writers such as Stephen King, A. G. Riddle, Dean Koontz, Steven Konkoly, Tom Abraham, Russell Blake and AR Shaw. There are many others as well, these few just come to mind because I've read them or I know them.
Oddly enough, I'm currently writing the sixth book in this series. I started it months ago, before all of this began. it's not easy writing about the apocalypse when something similar is happening now...though not nearly as dreadful but dreadful enough. The China Pandemic is actually a story of hope in a time when humanity has lost it all. They survive. They go on but it takes an uncertain will. One that's brought up not automatically...it's a will that reached for from the depths and yanked free.
A few friends and colleagues have asked me lately...So, how does it end? They mean Graham's Resolution. They know what I've gone through lately...the similarities and the meaning. Graham's Resolution is beyond the first generation in book six. But my fans know that I'll tell the story the way it comes to me, unvarnished. Meaning...there are no promises in the future just as in life. Still, I smile and say...we'll find out.