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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We're Talking Home and the Apocalypse with A. American

Good morning, all,

Joining us today is A. American, avid outdoorsman, survivalist, and family man. He is also the author of the post-apocalyptic survival series that includes Going Home, Surviving Home, and the forthcoming Escaping Home.With Plume Books giving the first two novels life as mass-market releases, he has stopped by today to talk about where the stories come from . . . and what's next.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. For those who haven't yet had a chance to give Going Home or Surviving Home a read, please tell us a little about yourself.

A: I’m just a normal guy, like most out there. I became aware of our tenuous situation many years ago and it’s only gotten worse. With three daughters I worry about their future and the opportunities they’ll have in life. I was a prepper before it was cool, or we were even called preppers. It just made sense, especially since I lived in Florida and had to deal with hurricanes every year.

Q: The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one, even in the era of small presses and digital publishing. What has your experience been in taking your self-published titles to mass-market with Plume?

A: In a word, awesome. I tell people I am an accidental author. I wrote Going Home online, it was open to the public and has over two million views. It was followers of the story that pushed me into publishing, I really didn't intend to. At their demands I went to a self-pub house and had it done. Then it hit Amazon and I was blown away, the sales were incredible, which brings us to Plume. Plume made an offer I simply couldn't refuse. They are some absolutely terrific people to work with, from the editorial staff to the marketing and promotions folks, they are great people and I really enjoy working with them.

Q: That kind of 'discovery' seems to be happening more often lately, but it's still an amazing story. Given that you describe yourself as an 'accidental author', what is it about writing that comes easiest for you, and where do you struggle the most? Is it the title? The first paragraph? The last chapter? The cover blurb?

A: LOL, this is easy, anything where I have to talk about myself! Writing the back cover blurb, author bios, those kinds of things are really hard for me, tooting my horn is not my forte.

Q: I think that's a challenge for most. Having seen its rather diverse evolution (or, perhaps, dilution) over the past decade, what was it that compelled you to contribute a new voice to the post-apocalyptic genre?

A: I am a huge fan of the genre. The reason I started Going Home was I’d read most of what was available. I was reading some of the great work being done by folks on the forums out there when I realized they simply didn’t strike me on a personal level, something was missing. To fill that void I started Going Home.

Q: I know they’re fiction, but the most frightening tales are often grounded in facts and possibilities. As a prepper, what do you see in society that most makes you fear a world where Going Home becomes less a story and more a journal?

A: Ten years ago if someone walked up to you and said the NSA was recording your phone calls you’d laugh at them. A decade later it’s our reality, but not just our phones. It’s any digital communications we do. A couple of years ago even the TV broadcast had to go digital. At the time it was trumpeted as providing better service. Through the lens of perspective we really have to wonder now.

The NYPD has a policy called Stop and Frisk where thousands of people a year are stopped for no reason and subjected to unconstitutional searches of their person and property. Of course this is for the safety of New Yorkers. The TSA now conducts extremely invasive searches of people, not only at airports but also bus stations and now even sporting events. Just like the Stop and Frisk we’re told it’s for our safety, what it really is, is conditioning. We are slowly being trained to ignore our rights, not rights granted to us, rights recognized by the US Constitution. Do I think the government is capable of something like Going Home  in their own words: The nuclear option is always on the table.

Q: Chilling stuff. Sometimes, characters can take on a life of their own, pulling the story in directions you hadn't originally anticipated. Were there any twists or turns in your writing that surprised you, or really challenged your original plans, particularly in writing a second book?

A: Yes, very much so. The character Thad is just that. The reason he exists in the books is because I was messaged by a guy on the forum after posting a piece of the story that is racially charged, black on white violence. He was black and said he agreed with the scene and thought I did  it right. But he asked me to include a black prepper (his words), to show that it’s not just crazy white people that can see what’s going on, that black people prep too. Thad was the result and he takes the story in an entirely unintended trip, for the better. He’s a great character who in Surviving Home faces some challenges that would break most men. But it’s his character, his will that pulls him through. Though damaged as a result, he’s always there for his friends.

Q: Speaking of reader reactions - and that is a great one - what is the strangest or most surprising reaction to your work that you've encountered to date?

A: Being called a racist is the strangest, I simply do not understand it. One of the funniest was a quote from a reviewer on Amazon who called it: Right wing reactionary politics. But the best are the messages I get from people who really connect, when someone says it’s like they were there, they could see it all in their mind, that’s the best.

Q:  It’s a tough question, especially if you’re wary of putting faces before your readers, but if either of your novels were being made into a movie, and you had total control over the production, who would you cast for the leading roles?

A: This has been bounced around forums a lot, everyone has their favorites. The one everyone, including myself because it was always the face in my mind, agreed on was Michael Clark Duncan for Thad. Sadly he passed away, but he is Thad. The other is for Sarge’s character, Gunny R. Lee Eremy is First Sgt Linus Mitchell, no disrespect to the Gunny casting him in the Army. For the others, Morgan has more options than you can imagine, but for me, he’s the hardest to pick. I don’t know why, but I never could see his face when I wrote his parts.

Q: To turn from pen to page for a moment, is there a particular author who has influenced or inspired your writing? Somebody who either made you want to write in the first place, or who just refreshes your literary batteries?

A: This may sound arrogant, but not really. For the last two years I have been very involved in the first two books and simply haven’t had time to read. I miss and cannot wait to be able to sit down with a book again soon. Right now, the person in the literary world that is the most influential to me is Kathleen, my editor. I am not a very good writer in the formal sense, I’m a storyteller. Kathleen is getting me into shape and things are really improving in my style, she’s a terrific mentor at the moment.

Q: Before we let you go, what can we look forward to from you next? Is there a project on the horizon that you're really excited about?

A: There are two more books in the Going Home series, the third should be released near the end of September and the fourth before the end of the year. After that I have several other projects, one about the surveillance state we are being forced into and another about the collision of two men on either side a federal investigation. That one should be interesting, I intend to do something there that’s never been done before and will be a great couple of books.

Cool. Thanks for taking the time to stop by today!

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by A. American

If society collapsed, could you survive?

When Morgan Carter’s car breaks down 250 miles from his home, he figures his weekend plans are ruined. But things are about to get much, much worse: the country’s power grid has collapsed. There is no electricity, no running water, no Internet, and no way to know when normalcy will be restored—if it ever will be. An avid survivalist, Morgan takes to the road with his prepper pack on his back.

During the grueling trek from Tallahassee to his home in Lake County, chaos threatens his every step but Morgan is hell-bent on getting home to his wife and daughters—and he’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. 

Fans of James Wesley, Rawles' books and One Second After by William R. Forstchen will revel in A. American's riveting story.


by A. American

No electricity. No running water. No food. No end in sight. If life as you knew it changed in an instant, would you be prepared?

In A. American’s first novel, Going Home, readers were introduced to Morgan Carter, the resourceful, tough-as-nails survivalist who embarks on a treacherous 250-mile journey across Florida following the collapse of the nation’s power grid. Now reunited with his loving wife and daughters in this follow-up to Going Home, Morgan knows that their happiness is fleeting, as the worst is yet to come. Though for years Morgan has been diligently preparing for emergency situations, many of his neighbors are completely unready for life in this strange new world—and they’re starting to get restless.

With the help of his closest companions, Morgan fights to keeps his home secure—only to discover shocking information about the state of the nation in the process.

Fans of James Wesley, Rawles' books and One Second After by William R. Forstchen will revel in A. American's riveting story.

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A. American has been involved in prepping and survival communities since the early 1990s. An avid outdoorsman, he has a spent considerable time learning edible and medicinal plants and their uses as well as primitive survival skills. He currently resides in North Carolina on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest with his wife of more than twenty years and his three daughters. He is the author of Going Home and Surviving Home  His third novel, Escaping Home, will be published this fall.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview...I'd like to hear more of Mr. American's real life and other projects.

    ReplyDelete