by Colleen Gleason (aka Joss Ware)
Two years ago, I started working on a series of paranormal romances set in a post-apocalyptic world. As I imagined what that world would look like, I did research to see what would happen if the majority of the human race was destroyed during a series of cataclysmic events.
I’d always had the impression that a post-apocalyptic world would be a sort of Mad Max and the Thunderdome environment—stark, dry, barren—but as I delved deeper into my research, I learned that Mother Nature is one heck of a formidable opponent and that she wouldn’t take the apocalypse lying down. An example is in Chernobyl, which has been abandoned for more than twenty years after the nuclear accident there. Lush, albeit radioactive-tinged, trees and grasses have filled in the area. It’s certainly not the barren, burned out area I would have expected.
Since the stories in my post-cataclysmic world take place fifty years after the Change (as my characters call it), that gives Mother Nature plenty of time to regroup and take over. Thus, as I wrote the first three books, I imagined a world that was lush and overgrown, studded with buildings that had been destroyed or partially destroyed during the earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis and other severe events that occurred.
The buildings that did make it through the apocalypse intact are no longer maintained, for there simply aren’t enough people to do so. Most are abandoned, except for little pockets of communities, and the rodents, insects, moss and tenacious weeds and plants have begun to take over. (Think about how quickly your grass would grow if it wasn’t mowed weekly…)
Armed with these thoughts, I tried to imagine what the world would look like. More of a jungle than a desert. More of deep woodland forests than meadows. Cracked and buckling roads and rusted street signs, old overgrown cars and mailboxes. Bushes and grasses growing in any spot where rain and sunlight might leak inside buildings with their broken windows or cracked roofs. Even little vines or grasses sprouting in crevices on the sides of buildings.
The lesson to me was: Mother Nature wins out over Man-made creations.
Imagine my surprise and delight when recently on vacation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, my family and I drove by an old building that completely epitomized the world I imagined. I made my husband stop the car so I could get out and take picture after picture of what had once been a copper stamping mill…and what is now an overgrown remnant of days gone by.
It’s not often that an author has the pleasure of seeing a world she imagined actually come to life. Writing historically-set novels can take an author to London or Rome, but the cities are not the same now as they were centuries ago. And imagining a futuristic world is even more difficult.
But I was able to find “my world”—or at least a good representation of it—up near Hubbell, Michigan.
These are some of the pictures I took up there, and you can find more on my website http://www.josswarebooks.com/
To learn about Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles series or her upcoming vampire series please visit http://www.colleengleason.com/
Colleen AKA Joss has kindly offered to give away a copy of
the first book in the Joss Ware series,
BEYOND THE NIGHT.
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