With recent news of a potential pandemic reaching the shores of North America, it is timely that this week’s entries in the Backdoor Survival Spring 2014 Book Festival are two novels by Steven Konkoly.
Not to scare the you-know-what out of you, but Steve has written two books, The Jakarta Pandemic and The Perseid Collapse featuring protagonist Alex Fletcher both during and after a lethal pandemic emerges and rages unchecked throughout the world.
These are the types of thrillers I read for enjoyment. Nutsy cuckoo, I know, but the truth is, these types of books allow me to step beyond my role as a kinder, gentler prepper and force me to go deep down in my thinking process to identify the steps and strategies I would undertake in a similar situation.
Steve has an extra special giveaway planned for us. He is offering two personally signed sets of books to two Backdoor Survival readers with the option of eBooks if that is your preference. In his interview he talks about The Perseid Collapse and more. Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.
Spring 2014 Book Festival: Survival Fiction from Steve Konkoly
An Interview with Steve Konkoly
Tell me about your book, The Perseid Collapse. What is it about?
The Perseid Collapse takes place six years after The Jakarta Pandemic, once again unleashing an unthinkable disaster on the Fletcher family. In The Jakarta Pandemic, the unforeseen effects of a lethal avian flu tested their decision to “bug in” at their house—a risky and dangerous proposition in a crowded, suburban setting.
I took a different approach in The Perseid Collapse, by erasing the Fletcher’s ability to stay in one place, together (I literally erased it…hint). Perseid’s story focuses on the immediate post-apocalyptic world created by a nebulous “event,” and the Fletcher’s need to “bug out.” Most of the book is dedicated to their travels, and the difficulties encountered along the way, which are numerous.
Unlike many post-apocalyptic novels, where the cause of the catastrophic event is an afterthought, I wanted to give readers a glimpse of the inner workings of the “event”—without coming right out and telling them what happened. At the beginning of the novel, readers are treated to glimpses of a sinister plot involving a Chinese cyber warfare facility, along with several chapters designed to give readers everything they need to piece the mystery together.
You’ll see the “event” from the International Space Station, a nuclear test ban treaty monitoring station and a U.S. Navy warship. After the “event” hits the United States, the scope of the novel narrows on the Fletchers. I take the reader to ground level, and keep you there for the rest of the series, as the Fletchers navigate the hostile landscape that readily emerges in the aftermath.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
I extensively research everything; from the smallest gear choices to the big picture plot elements. I typically research the bigger stuff first, which helps shape the novel’s framework, and do the smaller stuff “on the fly.”
For The Perseid Collapse, I started by investigating the feasibility of the disaster, or “the event.” This may have been the most difficult and extensive part, since I wanted to create a catastrophe unlike any other—and keep it within the realm of possibility.
For Perseid’s disaster, I spent an inordinate amount of time researching the following topics: Near Earth Objects, Tsunami characteristics, EMP effects, Ballistic Missile Defense and cyber warfare. You can imagine that “the event” wasn’t kind to the U.S., particularly the East Coast.
How long did it take to write?
The Perseid Collapse took four months to complete, including research. I wrote a third of it early in the morning, working around a full time job, family obligations and a sailboat.
“Zero dark thirty” became my writing time long ago, when I decided that I wanted to publish two books per year. I left my day job last September to pursue full time writing, finishing the book in record time—but I still wake up around 4:30 AM to write. Some habits are hard to break.
Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your books?
I agree wholeheartedly. Any writer that claims to write solely for entertainment purposes is not being entirely honest with themselves or readers. I set out to create a unique, entertaining story, which is the goal of every writer. The message eventually develops and crystalizes as the plot unfolds.
For my “prepper themed,” post-apocalyptic books, the “are you prepared” message crystalizes quickly. It’s the nature of the genre. From the first gear description to last character decision, the “prepper” message is broadcast throughout the story. Once the plot gets complicated, and the characters’ decisions become difficult—the bigger message shines through.
In The Jakarta Pandemic, two major messages stand out. 1.) How far are you willing to go to protect your family and friends? 2.) Underestimating the human element in a civil crisis can have disastrous consequences. Alex Fletcher is constantly bombarded by difficult decisions, which he handles with varying degrees of success. On purpose. In my view, there’s nothing fun about a main character that does everything right.
For The Perseid Collapse, the main messages are similar to Jakarta. I also explore the theme of Distrust in the Government, which becomes critical to the developing plot in Event Horizon (book two) and Point of Crisis (book three).
The top two notes I receive from readers are variations of the following 1.) The story scared the daylights out of me. I’m not ready for something like this (or anything) 2.) Loved the story. For me, this is a great balance between message and entertainment.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’ll give you the short version, then my “official” bio.
I live with my family outside of Portland, Maine, a few miles from the beach. We live in a neighborhood similar to the one featured in The Jakarta Pandemic. Some of my neighbors still look at me funny…if you read the novel, you’ll understand why.
Outside of writing, I stay fairly busy, especially during the summer months. We own a 28-foot sailboat, which is perfect for sailing Casco Bay with family during our limited sailing season. We’ll anchor or moor overnight near one of hundreds of islands, and take the kids ashore for hiking and exploring. We also maintain a sizable garden, which takes up the balance of our summer time. During the winter, we try to get out and snowshoe, cross-country ski or take the dog to the beach (anything to get out of the house).
During my “alone time,” I like to target shoot at our fish and game club, hit the trails for a run or take our dog for a long walk. Unfortunately, I spend far more time indoors than I care to admit, especially in the winter. By mid-February, I’ve given up on the cold.
Official version of my bio:
Steven graduated with merit from the U.S. Naval Academy, receiving a Bachelor of Science in English Literature. He was one of sixteen graduating Ensigns selected for the elite Naval Special Warfare program (SEALs).
He served the next eight years on active duty in various Navy and Marine Corps units: From leading Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) operations as a boarding officer in the Arabian Gulf, to directing Close Air Support (CAS) as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) assigned to a specialized Marine Corps unit, Steven’s “in-house” experience with a wide variety of regular and elite military units brings a unique authenticity to his writing.
As an author in the survival, prepping and/or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?
Great question. Despite what you read in my books, I still have a long way to go. The Fletcher’s set up in The Perseid Collapse, would be my ultimate goal. The ability to stay in the suburbs (short to medium term) during a civil crisis or national emergency, with the option of “bugging out” to a self-sustainable location if the situation significantly deteriorated.
I currently have the first half of that equation covered…the second half is a stretch. I have all of the tools and knowledge to get there; I just don’t have a THERE—yet. Working on that.
Do you have plans for another book?
Yes. The Perseid Collapse is book one in a three book series. Event Horizon hit the shelves on March 20th and Point of Crisis will be released in June or early July. After that, I will return to my covert operations/technothriller series for a few books (I have some disgruntled Black Flagged fans), then look at starting a new series…which I’m 95% sure will be another post-apocalyptic survival type story.
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
If you’d like to share your thoughts on my books, or just chat about related topics, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at [email protected] I love hearing from readers and always have time to talk about writing, prepping, Maine, sailing, shooting…the list goes on. I may not get back to you immediately (I get into extremely focused writing blocks), but I always get back—and it won’t be a one liner. Thanks for reading and “enjoy the apocalypse.”
The Book Giveaway
Two sets of personally signed books – it does not get much better than that! To enter to win a copy of both The Jakarta Pandemic and The Perseid Collapse, you will need to respond to today’s giveaway poll in the comments area below.
What do your family members think of your Prepping activities?
A. They are onboard and willing partners.
B. They have a case of bottled water and a few canned goods and think they are prepared.
C. They think you are a nut-job.
D. None of the above. Please explain.
To enter the giveaway, you need to respond to the poll in the comments area at the end of this article. The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Wednesday with the winner notified by email and announced in the Sunday Survival Buzz. You will have 48 hours to claim the winning book following the announcement on the Sunday Buzz.
Note: If you are reading this article in your email client, you must go to the Backdoor Survival website to enter this giveaway in the comments area at the bottom of the article.
The Final Word
The quality of survival fiction being written today astounds me. Without exception, every novel about a pandemic, disaster, or post-apocalyptic event has been an eye-opening and educational reading experience. I only wish I had more time to read. (That is a hint to authors – we need more audiobooks!) With very few exceptions (such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road), movies just do not cut it.
In a recent chat, Steve reminded me that The Perseid Collapse is book number 1 in a series of 3 and shares characters but is a totally separate storyline from The Jakarta Pandemic. That means you can read the books in any order – good to know as you grab a cup of coffee and settle down for a good summer read!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight Item: The Perseid Collapse
Six years after the Jakarta Pandemic “decimated” the world’s population; life is back to normal for the Fletchers and most Americans. The United States stands at the brink of a complete domestic and international resurgence, with stories of confidence and prosperity dominating the headlines. Appearances can be deceiving.
An undercurrent of paranoia and fear still runs strong below the surface; the collective angst of 28 million American deaths forever stamped into population’s fragile psyche. Suppressed memories of helplessness and desperation, anger and jealousy–waiting to be released.
On August 19, 2019, an inconceivable “event” will cripple most of North America’s critical infrastructure, spreading fear of a possible EMP or nuclear attack across the United States. With the power grid down and communications nonexistent, persistent rumors of a government takeover cast a darkness over the people. A human darkness with a vast appetite for destruction and violence.
Alex Fletcher will wake to this new world, catapulted headfirst into an impossible journey through a brutally hostile landscape–where the forged bonds of friendship and family remain the only true constant.
Bargain Bin: Today is all about books. Listed below are all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Book Festival. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and a bit of something for everyone.
If you covet an e-Book reader, consider the Kindle. Prices start at $119 although a basic kindle is only $69. And if not, at the very least pick up the free Kindle app so that you can read Kindle books on your PC or favorite electronic device.
Spring 2014 Book Festival #5 – Fiction
Brushfire Plague: Reckoning
Through Many Fires: Strengthen What Remains
Flight of the Bowyer
The Jakarta Pandemic
The Perseid Collapse
Leaving The Trees
Fury of the Fifth Angel
Fugitives from Northwoods
Phoenix Island: A Tale of Disaster, Survival, and Rebirth
Spring 2014 Book Festival #5 – Non-Fiction
The Prepper’s Complete Book of Disaster Readiness: Life-Saving Skills, Supplies, Tactics and Plans
Simply Canning: Survival Guide to Safe Home Canning
The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster
The Prepper’s Cookbook: 365 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals
Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure: A Prepper’s Book for Kids
The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months
Did you know that Emergency Essentials sells gear as well as food?
I recently purchased the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel plus a solar battery charger to provide auxiliary power to all of my USB devices. That means that worse case, I can use the solar power to fire up my iPad have a reference library of survival and prepping books at my fingertips.
The Goal Zero® Nomad 7m is an ultra-compact yet powerful solar panel. It enables you to recharge your handheld devices directly from its USB or 12-volt DC charging ports.
I will soon be writing up a review but in the meantime, here are the specs:
- Provides up to 7 watts output in good sunlight
- Only 13 ounces
- Compact foldable fabric case
- Compatible with most USB devices
- 5+ year life span
As of this writing, the combination of the two items is $119.99 and for me, represents a good investment in having solar generated power available to my devices, no matter what.
Note: I earn a small commission on your purchase making this a great way to support Backdoor Survival which will always be free to everyone.
Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)? I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.
Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!