Hello book lovers, welcome back! As usual, today’s #TalkTuesday interview is also our #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros! Enjoy! 😉
After Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Jones
After Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Jones is a very relevant story. It will sound familiar to those who have sheltered in place during this pandemic. The timing could not be better with panic surrounding certain aspects of the coronavirus, and in this book the panic surrounds preparation and fallout from a solar storm.
A quote in the book is surreal considering what is going on today. “They walked in the middle of the road… there was no traffic at all. Walking in the middle of the usually busy highway felt both daring and freeing, and the fact that they could was one more example of how drastically their world had changed in a single day.”
Readers are introduced to Ben Jernigan, a recluse who has settled on top of a mountain outside of the small community of Wears Valley, Tennessee, after he got out of the Marines two years ago. Going against his solitary nature, he finds himself forewarning Sela Gordon, the owner of a small grocery store and gas station he occasionally uses. He tells her of a catastrophic solar storm that will take down the global power grid in less than 24 hours. She doesn’t quite believe him, but gathers supplies just in case. When the grid goes down as predicted, Sela and her neighbors are plunged into a new world order. Money has no meaning, gasoline is gold, and people must band together as food and other supplies dwindle. There is no electricity, no cell phones, TV, or computers; no more grocery stores, gas stations, warm water, or washing machines, and no more hospitals and medications. Unlike today, where people need to self-isolate, the town of Wears Valley was community isolating, where residents pull together to do what they must to survive and maintain social order.
Knowing she needs to protect her aunt, niece, and some elderly friends Sela realizes a community council must be formed. Due to unforeseen circumstances she is chosen as its leader; a role she feels she is not comfortable or suited for. Events sometimes lead people to find in themselves traits that they do not realize existed. Sela grew from a shy and insecure woman to an independent, take charge person, while Ben wanted to be a hermit and didn’t want to deal with people, but Sela changed him. They complimented each other. He became protective, strong, and determined, and used his resourceful skills of surviving to help Sela, her family, her friends, and the community to stay safe. The relationship grew from a mutual attraction to a passionate love where both solitary people realized how much they needed and wanted each other.
The book starts quickly and the action never stops. It shows how people during a disaster can step up to the plate, exhibiting spunk and courage as they adapt to a new life. The story shows how events can bring out either the good or the bad in people. It is relevant to the current situation, while not a pandemic, the natural disaster has the potential to be as deadly or even more so with millions of people dying from both natural and manmade causes.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Linda Jones: We went up to the valley where the book is set. As we sat on the porch over-looking the valley, we thought about what could go wrong.
Linda Howard: When we started to kick around the idea we thought of an EMP, electric magnetic pulse, but that would mean we would be at war and it would not be worldwide. In the South, there was a huge solar storm a few years ago, actually there are a few every year. We started to do research and found out about CME, a coronal mass ejection, where the sun basically spits plasmas at us, destroying all the electricity.
EC: How did you both know what was needed to survive?
LH: We actually put in the book about a toilet paper shortage with the quote, “she grabbed more toilet paper.” In 1993 there was a huge blizzard where I lived. I was alone, without power for a week. When it was over I had my Scarlett O’Hara moment, “As God is my witness I will never go through this again.” I started preparing with supplies and a generator.
LJ: I experienced in 2011 a tornado that left us without power and water for a week. Linda told me horror stories to get me prepared and now I even have a solar charger for my phone.
EC: What was the writing process like?
LJ: It is a wonder we got anything done because our writing process is so different. I write really fast. If I stop for a period of time, I lose contact with the characters and have to go back to the beginning to pick up that connection. LH will write and then take a three-month break. It actually took us twice as long to write this book than when writing on our own.
EC: Did you each write certain parts?
LH: We wrote the book together, except LJ wrote all the Janis Joplin parts. There is only one phrase I know I wrote for sure, instead of Dear Jesus, it was “Dear Desus.” It is a Southern country phrase to keep from using the Lord’s name in vain.
EC: Ben distrusted people because of what happened to him in the military?
LH: He does not trust the establishment. We put in this book quote, “After years of combat and dealing with bureaucrats who didn’t know their asses from a hole in the ground, but were never-the-less in charge of life and death concerning him and his men.” Bureaucrats are not elected and no one knows who they are; yet, they make a lot of decisions in people’s lives. They have a lot of influence over the military and not all of it is good.
EC: How would you describe Ben?
LH and LJ: Fallacious, a man every woman wants. He is handy, a decision maker, pragmatic, and a man of action. He is like Daryl in “Walking Dead,” but better looking. His time in the military affected him and he got PTSD. After he got out he became a loner, talking more to his dog than anyone. If not for the crisis he and Sela would never have had a conversation.
EC: What about those nicknames for Ben?
LH: You are referring to “sweet bun,” Hottie McHot Hot, “Buns of Steel,” and “Stud Muffin.” LH made them up. Since Aunt Carol is fun and has a lot of zest for life she just thought of what popped into her head. Even though she is older she does not think of herself in that way.
EC: How would you describe Sela?
LH and LJ: She is shy, a thinker, logical, compassionate, and caring. Overall, she did not have much self-confidence, and is quiet. Sela is a risk-taker who will put herself in harm’s way to protect the people she loves.
EC: How would you describe Olivia?
LH and LJ: A typical teenager. She has grit, is courageous, and intelligent. She lost her parents at an early age, which caused her to grow up faster.
EC: What about the relationship?
LH and LJ: Ben felt safe with Sela and saw the strength in her she did not know she had. They silently lusted for one another. They are comfortable with and understand each other. They made sure they respected each other’s boundaries.
EC: The dog is a Mountain Cur Dog?
LH: This breed of dog is popular in the mountainous area of the South. The dog was named after Pat Sajak, the Wheel of Fortune show host. I think it is culturally appropriate for a dog. They are intelligent, friendly, and are good for hunting. I do not have this type of dog, but I do have a Golden Retriever. They are in a category by themselves.
EC: Who is the Janis Joplin fan?
LH: I am. She is a singer I like. I listened to her when I painted my house. I used the energy in the song she sang.
EC: What do you want readers to get out of the book?
LH and LJ: We get a lot of calls asking us how to prepare. We have become Survivalist experts. We wrote the book to entertain, but also to have people thinking about being prepared. There is a need for food, water, toilet paper, batteries, enough medication, and food for your dog. Modern technology is important, but there is also a need to have tools where someone could get by without it.
EC: What about your next books?
LJ: I am working on a self-published book that is in the paranormal genre. I got stalled when the virus quarantine hit. Because of all the stress, I could not concentrate.
LH: I am working on the third book in the “Go-Team series.” I got stalled after my knee surgery a few months ago. The Go-Team is a paramilitary organization. The “GO” stands for global offensive.
After Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Jones
Danger brings together two guarded hearts in a battle for survival in this irresistible story from New York Times bestselling authors Linda Howard and Linda Jones.
Sela Gordon, shy owner of a Tennessee general store, prefers solitude. If anyone can chip away at her protective shell it’s the handsome, mysterious, ex-military man who’s been hiding for two years in the wilds of Cove Mountain. But when he warns her that a catastrophic solar storm with the capability of taking down the power grids is approaching, Sela must come out of her shell and be the leader Wears Valley needs.
Living in self-imposed exile, Ben Jernigan has learned the hard way to look out only for number one. With a top-notch security system, he’s serious about keeping people at a distance. Yet he has to caution the undeniably sexy Sela about the impending threat-and now she’s making it too easy for him to lower his guard.
As panic spreads, Sela and Ben discover that in the dark, cut off from the outside world, there’s no more playing it safe — in life or in love.
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Socrates Book Reviews now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.
After Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Jones
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, are this week!
Luv Sassy x
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