I’m happy to welcome software engineer, paramedic, and author Linda Naughton. Today, Linda shares her creative journey and new release, Blackout Trail.
What was your inspiration for this book?
I’ve always been a fan of disaster movies—Armageddon, Twister, and The Day After Tomorrow to name a few. William R. Forstchen’s novel One Second After introduced me to the EMP survival genre. An electromagnetic pulse takes down the power grid, leading to a complete collapse of society.
I really enjoyed those stories, but most of them (at that time, anyway) were about preppers or ex-military folks who were well-equipped for an apocalypse. I wanted to tell a story about regular people. People who were in over their heads and just trying to do the right thing in a world turned upside down.
What is the best part of being an author? The worst?
Knowing that a story you wrote resonated with someone is a great feeling. I write stories for myself first, but it’s gratifying to see others enjoying them too.
On the flip side, it’s nerve-wracking to put a book out there after pouring so much effort into it. Will anyone even read it? What if they all hate it? Accepting criticism is part of the job—you’ll never please everyone—but it can still provoke anxiety and imposter syndrome.
Which authors have inspired you?
As a kid, I read a lot of sci-fi stories by Robert Heinlein. I really loved his straightforward writing style and tightly written plots. I am also a huge fan of Jennifer Roberson, especially the Tiger and Del novels. She has a way of really getting into her characters’ heads and making them feel like three-dimensional people.
What is your favorite quote?
I’ve always liked this one from Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” This resonates with me both as an engineer and a writer. Your first draft or first prototype isn’t the final destination. You just have to keep refining it until it’s right.
Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?
I’m a lifelong gamer. These days it’s mostly video games with my kids, but I’ll always have a soft spot for table-top role-playing games. My first paid writing gig was actually doing freelance work for the Shadowrun RPG.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on the sequel to Blackout Trail. The first story stands alone (no cliffhangers here), but I get attached to my characters and feel like there are more stories to tell with them.
Doctor Anna Hastings is no stranger to disasters, having spent much of her career as an aid worker in conflict zones around the world. Yet when an electrical phenomenon known as an EMP brings down the power grid, Anna faces catastrophe on a scale she never imagined. She must learn what it means to be a doctor in a world deprived of almost all technology.
As the blackout causes planes to fall from the sky, Anna crosses paths with devoted father Mark Ryan in the chaos at the airport. Mark convinces Anna to travel with him and his seven-year-old daughter Lily to their family’s cabin in remote Maine. There Mark hopes to reunite with his wife, and find a safe refuge from a society on the brink of collapse.
Journeying across a thousand miles of backcountry trails, they will face a daily struggle against nature. Their biggest peril, though, may come from their fellow survivors. As Anna grows closer to Mark and Lily, she resolves to see them safely home. But can she hold onto her humanity in a world gone mad?
I had just enough time to scoop Lily up and pull her to my chest before the wall of water hit us. I’d been knocked flat by ocean waves countless times before, but this was different. The wave hit low, sweeping my legs out from under me and then carrying us downstream. The shoreline zoomed by, branches and debris swirling all around us.
“Daddy!” Lily cried, squirming in search of Mark. I tightened my grip, fearful of seeing her swept away by the churning torrent of water. I couldn’t see him either. Hopefully he was just upstream from us, in my blind spot.
The creek didn’t seem that deep; I felt my leg smack against the rocky creek bed a few times. I tried to stand up, but I couldn’t get my feet planted. The fast-moving current just bowled me right over every time. Once, we went under and came up sputtering. I worried that our backpacks would sink us, but Lily’s was small and mine surprisingly buoyant.
Over the roaring of the creek, I heard Lily cry out in terror. It was a heart-wrenching sound, but at least it told me she wasn’t drowning. I scanned the shore for something that we might be able to grab onto, but nothing came within reach.
“Anna!” Lily’s shrill cry caused me to snap my eyes forward. A tree had fallen across the stream, and we hurtled towards it.
“Hold on!” Her arms wrapped around my neck so tightly it almost choked me. When we were nearly upon the tree, I twisted my body sideways, trying to shield Lily from the impact.
Author Bio and Links
Linda Naughton has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. She is the author of several novels, children’s books, and the blog Self-Rescuing Princesses. A proud geek and gamer girl, she enjoys sci-fi, disaster movies, and role-playing games. She is a software engineer, paramedic, and mother of two.
Linda Naughton will be awarding a $15 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.
Follow Linda on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.