- Posted by admin on Jan 31 2013
The Daylight War trailer is now up and running – we hope you like it!Read more »
Out now, our digital updated edition of Nick Cole’s fabulous post-apocalyptic novel THE OLD MAN AND THE WASTELAND.
To celebrate, Nick tells the story before the story and how his doomsday unfolded.
Every book has got to begin somewhere. Often the circumstances, though seemingly fantastic, say as found in a Space Opera, are still pastoral. Setting is the way life is, and the characters within have only ever known it that way. But in the world of Post-Apocalyptic fiction, or PA fiction, the change from pastoral to doomsday is part of the tale.
And that’s where readers of PA find the sweet spot…
They want the world turned upside down, shaken not stirred and served into a cracked martini glass at a roadside fortress gas station where everyone wears leather, drives souped-up Dodge Chargers and carries a shotgun. Maybe. Or at least some of them do.
But first we’ve got to depart the regular gas station, and that 44 oz. Big Gulp we can have any time we want. Or, life as we currently know it. To do that, the PA writer needs to set the stage. The opening act is the final act. Or simply put, the world’s got to go.
So for those who read this blog, I’ll outline how I blew up the world. I don’t do this in the book, The Old Man and the Wasteland. So, here’s how it all went down…
We start with a new 9/11.
A terrorist cell manages to poison most of lower Manhattan with a dirty bomb and then a Mumbai-style ambush against first responders. After a week, the last of the terrorists have been killed and the casualties are enormous and mounting, due to radiation sickness. Manhattan is finished and a global capital is effectively terminated.
An American President, politically moderate before the attack, shifts wildly to the militant-right as the nation calls for a bloodletting. American forces airstrike three middle-eastern capitals: Damascus, Tripoli, and Tehran. An American expeditionary force lands in North Africa with the intent of a Sherman’s March to the Sea-style invasion in an effort to devastate the Muslim world.
Mid-invasion, a charter airliner flashing the correct Homeland Security transponder codes, explodes at high altitude over the Northern Hemisphere of the Unites States. The powerful EMP disables most everything from cell phones to toasters to early warning radar detection systems (Unless they happened to be switched off at the time of the pulse.) Within hours the city of Dallas experiences a high yield, low altitude nuclear explosion delivered by terrorist cells operating out of Mexico and piloting drone aircraft.
The next day, it’s Seattle.
For the next two weeks, a city a day is destroyed by drone-piloted, nuclear weapon carrying aircraft.
Emergency services are strained and collapse.
American citizens abandon their cities en masse.
A coalition of Muslim countries announce that the drone strikes, funded and powered by Chinese technology stolen from U.S. developers, will continue until the American Army, currently driving toward Saudi Arabia, surrenders completely.
The President of the United States authorizes a full scale nuclear strike by bomber aircraft against all the major capitals of the Middle East. Bombers receive their codes and commence their attack.
A Chinese fleet preemptively strikes the Northwestern United States. The President authorizes the use of T-LAN nuclear ordinance to repel the invasion.
China launches her entire nuclear arsenal in response to the loss of her fleet.
America retaliates with all her silo-based nuclear weapons.
Russia invades Central and Western Europe. Nuclear weapons are exchanged by France, England, and Germany against targets on their own soil and in Russia.
Pakistan and India exchange nuclear weapons.
The world is beset by raging wildfires, disease, and starvation at heretofore unimagined levels. Within months, darkness due to the ash cloud that surrounds the earth, a mini ice age descends across much of the planet. A nuclear winter ensues.
Pictured from space by the few remaining Satellites that still circle the planet, the Earth is much the same, but gone are the lights of cities and civilization that once burned in the night. Only the occasional large-acreage forest fire, burning out of control, can be seen in the night.
Thirty-eight years later a survivor departs his village at dawn. He will either find something of use to his village or never return. His only companions are the words and wisdom of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Thus begins The Old Man and the Wasteland…
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After working with the incredible Larry Rostant again for the cover of The Daylight War, we were thrilled to be able to work with another fantastic artist, Dan Kitchener, for a book trailer.
The trailer is coming soon, but in the meantime, have a look at these amazing sketches Dan did of Arlen and Jardir…
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Thanks to everyone who submitted questions earlier this month! Find out more about Peter’s writing, his inspiration and a hint at what happens AFTER The Daylight War…
1. Where do you get your inspiration to start writing?
Everywhere. My own life experiences; the comics, books, music, movies and television I enjoy; people I know, etc. This is the nature of art. We absorb the art of others, filter it through our experience, and create something new that clay.
2. How long do you spend writing each day?
That depends. When I am in the zone and focused, I produce around 1,000 words a day. Other times, if I am on promotional tours or otherwise occupied, I can go frustrating weeks without significant progress. I have become a small business in many ways, and at this point, more than half of my work time is taken up with keeping that running. My assistant, Meg has been a huge help in that regard, freeing me in many ways to make 2013 much more productive than the previous couple years.
3. Do you have a plan for your characters when you start writing, or does it evolve as you write?
I have a very meticulous approach to story structure, probably much more so than most other writers. When I began writing, I used to freewrite, which is to say I just sat down and started writing prose, making the story up as I went along. I would jot down cool ideas as I had them, but mostly I just let the prose take me where it would.
This was a terrible approach. A lot of very successful authors freewrite, but for me it tended to make the story wander away from the main narrative thread, losing tension as I explored whatever path my current mood took me down. Looking back, it’s no wonder that no one was interested in the books I wrote in that fashion. For all the good stuff they contain, there are deep flaws.
I have since begun writing what I call stepsheets, which are detailed breakdowns of every chapter in the form of bulleted lists where I describe chronologically all the pertinent events, background/worldbuilding I want to thread in, character motivations, and bits of dialogue I want to include. This is done for the entire novel, often before I have written a single paragraph of actual prose. It allows me to step back and view the story as a whole, moving parts around to allow for proper pacing and flow without having to do a ton of rewriting later. Only when that skeleton is adamantium strong do I begin slapping meat onto it.
This is a long and arduous process. For instance, the stepsheet for Daylight War was over 200 pages, and a completely separate file from the 850 pages of prose in the final novel. However, I feel it is a process that consistently delivers the results I want, so I can’t complain even if it means I write slower than other authors. I think of the story of the grasshopper and the ant, and do what works for me.
4. Why did you choose to follow a different protagonist’s point of view in each chapter?
It’s interesting to note that the original draft of the Painted Man was entirely in Arlen’s POV, and he first met Rojer and Leesha as adults when he rescued them on the road. It didn’t work, and made it really difficult to tell the full story. Giving Rojer and Leesha their own perspectives was, I think, what really made the book work. Leesha’s story, in particular, took off. She practically writes herself.
With Desert Spear, I wanted to get away from those characters a while to tell the other side of the story. I knew people thought of Jardir as a villian, but that was only a surface impression from seeing a few of his actions out of context. Giving his full story not only vindicates him and his point of view in many ways but it also sheds a darker light on some of Arlen’s own actions.
In Daylight War, we see Inevera get the same treatment. Mysterious and terrifying in Desert Spear, we once again go back and get to know her life in detail. I think by the end she may well be everyone’s favorite character.
5. Do you draw any inspiration from real life historical events?
All the time. I am always reading world news, and studied a lot of older work in the process of wtiting these books, including Sun Tzu’s Art of War, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, accounts of King Leonidas of Sparta’s war with Xerxes, Skaka Zulu’s conquest of Africa, and the Tokugawa Shogunate. I also did a fair amount of research into world religions, but that’s always been a hobby of mine. I have a nicely growing collection of the Men-at-Arms and Warrior books from Osprey publishing, which are wonderful references for historical arms and armor. I also use Wikipedia all the time to answer quick research questions.
I love fantasy because it gives writers an opportunity to pull interesting facets from history and real world culture without the need to adhere too strictly to actual events. Every culture in the world has its own mythologies that define it in many ways. That’s something that has always fascinated me.
6. Is there a language of wards? Do they have a sound and could they be spoken?
No, though there are grimoires to catalog them and their various effects. Many wards have had their meanings lost over the years.
7. Has becoming an author led to any experiences you didn’t expect?
So many. Getting published is surreal enough, but seeing some of the amazing things my fans do for the creative contests on my blog are breathtaking. Before being published, I had barely left the US, and then only to the the UK and Canada. Now I have been to Portugal, Poland, France, Australia, Germany, and all over the US. adding stamps to my passport has been incredible. I hope one day to visit every one of the 20 something countries I am published in.
And let us not forget Author D&D. I am still geeking out about it: http://youtu.be/uFy8wWQ1tdw. This year’s game is being edited as we speak!
8. What were your favourite books last year?
One of the most unexpected and difficult aspects of being an author (and an active parent of a child under 5) is having unfettered access to almost any book I want, often well before its release date… and no free time to read them. It reminds me of the old Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough, At Last” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Enough_at_Last) where Burgess Meredith is a book lover who is constantly thwarted from reading.
That said, I did manage to sneak in a few this year. On paper, I read Mark Lawrence’s King of Thorns and CS Friedman’s Legacy of Kings, both authors who I love and have written blurbs for in the past.
I also read an early electronic draft of Myke Cole’s Fortress Frontier, which drops in the next week or so. It is the follow-up to last year’s Control Point, and is even better than the first book.
If you are a comic book fan, I read some great stuff this year, including Locke & Key, Invincible, Walking Dead, Fables, and Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre.
I listen to audiobooks while I exercise, and really enjoyed Year Zero by Rob Reid and Timeless by Gail Carriger, as well as Dominion, a Coldfire novella by CS Freidman that brought back all the stuff I loved about that series.
9. Any hints as to what will happen in book four?
Shit gets real. Human v. human violence finally comes to a boil even as the demons make a concerted effort to stamp humanity back down into the mud.Read more »