Each week, we feature interviews with your favorite post-apocalyptic and dystopian authors, directors, screenwriters and assorted nay-saying troublemakers! (Links in the descriptions may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you).
Annette Shaw’s unique blend of evocative storytelling and nerdy, science-heavy backstory makes for captivating reading, as legions of dedicated fans would happily attest. Writing under A.R. Shaw, she debuted as an author in 2013 with The China Pandemic, an accidentally portentous tale of a world in peril due to a catastrophically lethal virus of sinister origin.
In the years since, she’s thrilled us with PA medical thrillers, survival stories and has even teased readers with the promise of an upcoming cozy post-apocalyptic novel!
While we ponder the debut of this intriguing sub-genre, let’s learn more about USA Today bestselling author A.R. Shaw.
Copper: You often deal with nature-related catastrophes as a theme in your books, but those catastrophes will frequently have human error or greed as their true source. When it comes to apocalyptic disasters, would you describe yourself as more fearful of humanity or nature?
A.R. I know there’s a lot to fear in the atrocities humanity is capable of, especially when they’re desperate, but I’d bet money any day of the week that Mother Nature has that one in the bag. Pompeii is a mild example. In fact, we keep finding remains of human existence much longer ago than anyone one fathomed. And the only eraser then was nature. Fear her above all others.
Copper: The China Pandemic is a truly frightening book made all the more frightening by the way it foreshadowed the current pandemic (minus the sinister origins). As a young reader, were you influenced by any books that frightened you?
A.R. Not necessarily frightened but Yes. I was an avid reader as a child. It kept me out of trouble. Mostly historical fiction and in particular, Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Surprisingly, that particular book showed me how one survives without power and by will alone. I mean, they did it back then. It was their way of life and it wasn’t really that long ago when you think about it. My grandparents parents lived with no power most of their lifetime. A little later, I was drawn to Alas Babylon, Earth Abides, and Lucifer’s Hammer. All early classics in the post-apocalyptic era. There’s something about stripping humans of all comforts and showing them what they’re made of, that intrigues me.
Copper: Has your military background as a communications radio operator influenced your approach to imagining a technologically crippled world?
In the late eighties, I worked on radio equipment from the 40’s and 50’s at Keesler AFB and Kelly’s MARS Station. Even the buildings we worked and were housed in, were from the WWII era. And Sgt. Green, my boss at the MARS station, was sitting at my desk a year before my appointment when he was the first point of contact after a devastating earthquake in Mexico City, about 1985, that had happened three days prior to the event. Thousands died. Radio was the only way they were able to get word out for help. It was a pretty remarkable event that seems lost to history. And though radio doesn’t always work…it’s still the most reliable way of communication when the grids, satellites, and towers go down. So most definitely, my writing is influenced by my back ground.
Copper: And finally, the most important apocalypse-related question: what one song would you need to survive the apocalypse to ensure your sanity?
A.R. Two songs, actually. Drift Away by Dobie Gray to relax and Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival when it’s on!
Check out A.R. Shaw’s Surrender the Sun series and look for a new sequel coming later this year!
Next Week’s prophet of Doom, author Greg Dragon!