Ready or Not

Hello Pocket Friends,

If you know me through my bookbinding shop on Etsy, then you might not know that I’m also a published writer. Long story short, the piece that I’m most proud of is called ‘Hide and Seek’, and was published in the anthology, “Annihilation Radiation” by Storgy in October 2020. (At the time of writing, it was out of stock on Amazon but available on the Abe Books website).

Photo by Gerhard Reus on Unsplash

Elevator pitch

One woman’s diary of life during a mass radiation outbreak.

Shot of me in an armchair, looking at the interviewer, not straight to camera.

“I’ve often been asked how I came up with the idea for this story. We sometimes forget or never even know, how a few years in a person’s life can have such a formative and lingering effect on the rest of it. The combination of being a tweenie in early-80s England, with the Cold War and an imminent nuclear attack at any time, my family’s make-do-and-mend survivalist/prepper philosophy, holidays on a farm or camping, plus a childhood curiosity to read everything that I could get my hands on, regardless of whether it was appropriate, all led to the marination of this story. (I still have a fondness for those little Reader’s Digest magazines). This story – in real time – was forming at the back of my mind percolating, concentrating, festering even, – for decades. The occasional film or news reel brought it slamming back into my dreams. The time seemed oddly right to write it – in that foggy hinterland somewhere in-between recovering from anaemia and then the pandemic. I was isolating myself long before we were told to.

There was a competition from Storgy to be included in a ‘before/during or after’ anthology. This was the spur I needed to get it all down. I was allocated ‘during’ which was perfect because my story had to unfold as it was happening, and so couldn’t take place as flashbacks. So, for the next three months, that’s all I thought about. It’s over three years old now, so If I published it again, I’d tweak it. I occasionally reminds myself that this story is a complete unmade film, so, you know. One day, maybe I’ll get round to finding someone to develop it.”

Spoiler-free influences

  1. I took the names of the characters in the story from ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by CS Lewis.
  2. Memories of those terrifying short informational films that we were shown at school about trespassing on railway lines or taking to strangers, usually accompanied by a talk from a local police officer, still haunt me.
  3. How you can never really know someone. That people are never entirely good or bad, and that brief interactions with strangers can have more impact and meaning than a lifetime with others. That society functions when people do as they are told, but in an apocalyptic chaos, the people who you need most on your side are those who didn’t do as they were told back in the old days.
  4. I nodded towards other apocalyptic horrors such as ‘Threads’, ‘28 Days Later’, , ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘When The Wind Blows’ but the most important one that had a major influence on me was a booklet called ‘Protect and Survive’. This was sent to all homes by the British Government in 1980. (Click the picture below to read it).

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