Tuesday, September 1, 2015


“It’s a ‘prepper’ novel,” I explained. “Do you know what a prepper is?”

That’s how I start trying to describe my novel, Beyond the Strandline, in the speech that is supposed to last the length of time it takes an elevator to go from up to down—the elevator speech.

Inevitably, a lot of people don’t know what a prepper might be or the act of prepping or grid collapse or even 72-hour kits.

So I try again. “It’s a book about what if.”

Raised eyebrows and polite interest, if I’m lucky, and then I launch into my next explanation.

“What if the lights went out for good and the water stopped flowing? What would the world be like? And what if your family was ready for it? You know, prepared with food storage and emergency plans but the rest of the world wasn’t? And what if your little sister broke the first rule of hiding in plain sight . . .”

Deep forehead wrinkles and some consternation and maybe a question or two and then the elevator doors slide open and the moment passes.

“It’s a juvenile action-adventure, romance . . .”

Got it. That, they understand.

But it’s so much more.

It’s really about how you have to start thinking when it comes to writing a book or in preparing for the future, for that matter. It’s an exercise of the imagination.

What if the lights went out and stayed out and the batteries died and the lamp oil ran out and the moon still waxed and waned as it always has and what if you had to travel through a lonely jungle in the darkest part of the moon and how would you see to put one foot in front of the other and—What would my characters be like; how would they live; how would they cope?

What would I be like? How would I cope?

Imagination. Writing is all about imagining the . . . what if.

So is prepping. It’s a match made in Heaven.

Prepping:  The practice of making active preparations for a possible catastrophic disaster or emergency, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.

So we started a blog, my best friend and I, to talk about things we can only imagine.

It’s like writing a book.