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Today I share another next author interview – this time with R.P. Ruggiero, the author of Brushfire Plague. Although Brushfire Plague was not on the Fall Reading List, I felt that an interview with R.P. was in order given both my fondness for his book and broad interest, in general, in readers wanting to learn more about R.P. as an author.
You might recall that I reviewed Brushfire Plague a while back. This is the book that got me hooked on survival fiction – there was just so much to learn from the book in addition to it being an engaging read.
Before we begin, I would like to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway. “Marilyn” has won a copy of John Rourke’s “A Survival Story; Part I”. Congratulations!
Here is the prepping tip shared by Marilyn:
Organize those preps! With limited space, time and my house host to many comings and goings, this is one area that I am working hard to resolve. It makes it so much easier to find something you need and to also know what you actually have.
Excellent advice. Boy, I can sure relate to this one! Be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.
A Chat with R.P. Ruggiero
Tell me about your book, Brushfire Plague. What is it about?
The Brushfire Plague is an action novel in the same genre of survivalist adventure as One Second After, but with compelling emotional engagement woven in the same vein as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
When a virulent plague erupts across the globe, Cooper Adams faces a daily battle for survival as society unravels at a dizzying pace. As he organizes his neighbors for self-defense and strives to save those around him, he soon discovers the first clues about the origin of the Brushfire Plague that is killing untold millions around the world.
In his pursuit to learn the truth, Cooper must combat looters, organized gangs, and those protecting the Brushfire Plague’s secrets. When his son falls ill, his search to uncover the plague’s origin and a possible cure transforms into a race against time.
Ultimately, Cooper faces a paralyzing choice between exposing what he has learned with potentially shattering consequences, or abetting a horrible secret and giving his nation a chance to recover and rebuild. This decision is made even more compelling because Cooper—whose life was sundered by lies in his childhood—has an unwavering adherence to truth. Will he abandon those principles to give his son a better chance to live?
Cooper Adams is an everyman hero, full of common human frailties while possessing an inner resolve that inspires those around him. Paul Dranko, his neighbor and friend, is a long-time survivalist who provides both knowledge and supplies critical to their neighborhood’s defense.
The two form the core of an intriguing cast of characters in the neighborhood who must come together during a horrible crisis and defend themselves amidst the escalating, and rampant, violence. As the chaos escalates and Cooper is unable to shield his son, Jake, from its effects, he must grapple with watching his son’s innocence lost.
What type of research did you have to do while writing Brushfire Plague?
Most of the knowledge and research I had already acquired through my life’s experiences as a Prepper, use of firearms, understanding of basic military tactics, and through the work I do and having a thorough understanding of group dynamics–especially under stress.
I did do some additional research in some areas of home and neighborhood defense.
Do you feel that the circumstances played out in the book could really happen?
I wanted to craft a tale that would resonate because of its realism. I believe a character will have the most impact on a reader if the reader can relate to them–and realism is key for that. In addition, the survival lessons built into the story wouldn’t work if it was unrealistic.
The Brushfire Plague is virulent, so society collapses very quickly. I believe in this scenario–if people were faced with an unknown and exceptionally deadly plague–panic and disorder would happen fast. Brushfire Plague focuses on normal people’s reactions to such a situation and because there is leadership, they construct an oasis of order in a growing sea of chaos. This realism is what makes it a great read and a useful one in preparing.
How long did it take to write?
A year and a half.
I finished the research phase in 3 months, took 9 months to write, and then 6 months doing many, many revisions! I felt strongly that I wanted to bring a high quality, well-written, entry into this genre. After Prepper Press agreed to publish it, their editors looked at it and there were additional improvements. I’m very happy I didn’t rush it. The feedback from readers–from both those unfamiliar with this genre to those who read it extensively–has been overwhelmingly positive. So, I think it was time well spent!
Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message to you hope my readers will take with them after reading Brushfire Plague?
There are a couple.
One, is just witnessing the power of a father’s love for his child and what happens to that when placed in this kind of situation. So, a related message is to appreciate the good times while they are here. A second message is about being clear about what your values are. In short, why are you fighting to survive? And, how do you hold onto those values amidst chaos and strife? Finally, there’s a core message here that we have to work with our family and our neighbors if we are going to survive any kind of catastrophe. I
‘ve never believed in the “lone wolf” idea. I think it’s not realistic. So, there is a lot in Brushfire Plague about interpersonal dynamics and how to organize other people into needed action.
I know that you live in the Pacific Northwest. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I live in the Pacific Northwest with my wife and two sons. I spend as much time as I can in the outdoors and strive to live by Robert Heinlein’s credo that, “Specialization is for insects.” When I am not outdoors, writing, or learning a new skill, I work coordinating people to achieve their common goals. I have put almost two decades of experience in group dynamics—particularly when people are under stress—to good use in writing The Brushfire Plague; a novel grounded in neighborhood defense during a devastating plague.
Do you have plans for another book?
Oh yeah! I’m well into writing the sequel to Brushfire Plague. The plot takes another unexpected turn and confronts Cooper, Dranko, and the others with new survival challenges. I’m very excited about where I’m taking the characters to and some new characters that will come into the mix. I hope to have it out by early summer. Again, I don’t want to rush it as my first priority is to put a great read into the reader’s hands!
The Book Giveaway
Since I have already given away a copy of Brushfire Plague, this week TWO lucky readers will each score a copy of the book 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life – A Guide to Surviving 2013 and Beyond (written by yours truly and George Ure).
You know how I like to make things easy so all you need to do to win is reply below in the comments area with a response to the following:
What do you feel is the most important item in your bug out bag?
A winner will be selected next Friday morning at random using tools on the random.org website.
The Final Word
I recently posted the following mini-review on Amazon.
Brushfire Plague is the first book in the survival fiction genre that I have really embraced. I liked it so much, that I came up with a set of “8 lessons learned from reading Brushfire Plague”. They are:
- Skills and stuff are equally important.
- Community organization with like minded people can and will save lives.
- Mental discipline and a level head under pressure will prevail when tough decisions need to be made.
- Do not underestimate the need to defend yourself in ways you can not fathom in advance.
- There will be casualties. Be prepared mentally and physically to deal with the seriously wounded and the deceased.
- Grieving is important as is the need to spend personal time alone to rest and recharge.
- Perceived “good guys” may be bad and perceived “bad guys” may actually be good.
- Feelings and compassion count as does the love and support of friends and family.
In my opinion, survival fiction should not be so terrifying that you end up filled with fear and apprehension. Instead, you should first of all, enjoy the book and second, come away with a sense of renewed motivation to continue to expand upon your survival skill set. Also, the very best of the genre will present situations that could really happen in either the short term or long term and not be so “out there” in fantasy, that there is no useful takeaway.
Brushfire Plague is all of the above and highly recommended.
In closing this week, I invite you to read my own interpretation of the Brushfire Plague message in my review Eight Survival Lessons Learned from the Brushfire Plague.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Spotlight Item: Brushfire Plague: I heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of Brushfire Plague not only for an enjoyable read but also so that you can connect with your own thoughts on dealing with chaotic collapse of society, even for the short term. This book would make a wonderful gift for the book-lover on your holiday gift list.
Bargain Bin: Listed below are all of the books in the in the Backdoor Survival Fall Reading List and Book Festival. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and a bit of something for everyone. Also, some of these books are Kindle e-books but you do not need a Kindle to read Kindle e-books. Simply download the free Kindle app from the Amazon site and you are good to go.
The Backdoor Survival Fall Reading List – Non-Fiction
Contact!: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival
Disaster Preparedness: Urban Preppers with Kids, Pets & Parents; Disaster Survival for the Family
Survive Any Food Crisis
The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning
Deep Web Secrecy and Security – Guide to the Deep Web and Beyond
Broken Web The Coming Collapse of the Internet
The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency
The Home Schooled Shootist: Training to Fight with a Carbine
The Backdoor Survival Fall Reading List – Fiction
One of my readers pointed out that Emergency Essentials currently has a two person “Bivvy” on sale of $18.99. Now being an ex-city girl, I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out what a “Bivvy” or Bivouac was. In the briefest of terms:
A bivvy sack is a thin waterproof fabric shell that is designed to slip over a sleeping bag, providing an additional 5 to 10 °C of insulation and forming an effective barrier against wind chill and rain.
Anyway, I though that was cool and for $19, not a bad thing to have on hand. To find this,you will need to enter the keyword “Bivvy” into the Emergency Essentials search box but it is there, on sale this month along with a number of other items.
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And just in time for the holidays, Amazon has a cool new promotion that can help you find great gifts for the holidays. It is called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is great because when you go to the page it gives you a quick category overview, if you are looking for fashion, electronics, toys, etc., you can go right there first. This is a great tool to find gifts, but it’s also a great way to find products that people are ‘wishing” for and this way you know what the top products are.
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11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: What? You haven’t picked up a copy of 11 steps yet? This little book will provide you with the motivation to get started or stay on track with a self-reliant life. 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, co-authored with my long time pal, George Ure, and can be on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.