OTG – What prompted you to begin writing prepper fiction?
RF – I guess to be honest, it was money. Money to buy more preps and get paid for the legacy of knowledge I have that I wish I could of bought before I went to the expense and physical hardships to obtain personally. Value is an arbitrary term. I got paid, well not me personally mostly, for my opinion as a gemologist at the rate of $190 an hour to do an insurance appraisal on jewelry, or a legal dispute on a gemstone because of a credential. This was before I lost a great deal of vision doing it and applied my mind and experiences to more mundane and practical things in order to feed myself and put a roof over my head without the benefit of medical, retirement, unemployment or other corporate items my life lacked.
I wrote Rural Ranger in 2003 to get paid for my opinions and time in military survival schools as well as being a Southern good ol’ boy that knew a few things about the woods. I needed preps, I still need preps – this is my job. I ask the price of a beer or two to relate decades of knowledge and it’s worth the price. I am a maker of mischief. I have drinking parties with imaginary friends and write prepper fiction.
OTG – Are the books entirely entertainment oriented, or do they serve as an educational resource as well?
RF – Not by a long shot are they entirely entertainment oriented. I hope you don’t mind me addressing some of the qualms some of my detractors have about my books in this forum. The usual complaint I get is about my editing. There are two things to know here. First, I type with one finger as fast as I can to get the word out on how to prepare for coming disastrous events I foresee and put them out as quick as I can. I don’t have the money or inclination to hire an editor to delay or change the impact of my wording. I am southern, get over it, I don’t talk or write in accepted Yankee speak or proper English but I can, as my degrees prove. I have decided to teach you everything this old man knows in the quickest way and it is the same as if we were talking over my campfire, ok? Take the knowledge, take the fun, take the acceptance of many dialects and wisdom and use the story to remember the survival tricks as the characters use my pronunciations and language.
Take the truncations and outright word drops as an author style and remember there is also a New York Times bestselling author who refuses to use any commas, (laughs.) I at least try for the grammar Nazis. Countless great YouTube videos like LowBuck Prepper and many, many others attest to loving this writing style .
OTG – Your book, Roland’s Post Apocalyptic Railroad creates a scenario similar to The Carrington Event miniseries (airs in May) about life in America after a massive Earth-directed solar flare. Much like Rick Grime’s group in The Walking Dead on AMC, the people in the book feel morally bound to help other survivors while continually struggling with starvation fears. Why do you think millions of Americans are drawn to such stories, now more than ever?
RF – I think the draw of post-apocalyptic fiction is almost something we get drawn to as readers at a young age. Knowledge makes a difference and we all ask ourselves what would we do in such a situation, or compare a character’s action in a story to our own remembrances.
I do teach morality in my books just like an old episode of Andy Griffith; take the story and the moral with you. Remember it for later and relate it in a fun story. Roland’s Post Apocalyptic Railroad was a customer requested continuation of The Prepper Trilogy in a novella format. There seems to be a universal awakening to the prepper community to gain knowledge and put themselves into a story format of how to cope. I try to let people envision themselves side by side with my characters.
OTG – How does the post-apocalyptic genre differ from traditional science fiction?
RF – My books deal with real day people, not Rambo or financially blessed survivalists. I try to give hope and advice that is not just combat-orientated.