Author: Ray Gorham
Publisher: Ray Gorham
Publication Date: April 2014
Page Count: 358
About the Book:
On a Friday afternoon before Labor Day, Americans are getting ready for the holiday weekend, completely unaware of a long-planned terrorist plot about to be launched against the country. Kyle Tait is settling in for his flight home to Montana when a single nuclear bomb is detonated 300 miles above the heart of America. The blast, an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP), destroys every electrical device in the country, and results in the crippling of the power grid, the shutting down of modern communications, and bringing to a halt most forms of transportation.
Kyle narrowly escapes when his airplane crashes on take-off, only to find himself stranded 2,000 miles from home in a country that has been forced, from a technological standpoint, back to the 19th Century. Confused, hurt, scared, and alone, Kyle must make his way across a hostile continent to a family he’s not even sure has survived the effects of the attack. As Kyle forges his way home, his frightened family faces their own struggles for survival in a community trying to halt its slow spiral into chaos and anarchy.
My previous experience with survival or “doomsday” fiction was Stephen King’s The Stand and David Brin’s The Postman. I’ve also seen the Mad Max movies, The Book of Eli, and The Road. I tend to appreciate the stories that tend more to the redemptive nature of humanity rather than the ones that focus on our baser sides.
In this uncertain world (especially my uncertain world) I found it very difficult to read this book. My life sucks enough right now without worrying about terrorist attacks or EMPs or the Mayan prophecies or the zombie apocalypse. Seriously. But as a piece of fiction, this is an awesome read. Alternately thrilling and touching, I got so caught up in the story of Kyle’s struggle to return to his family that I could barely put the book down.
This is a book that will make you think – beyond “am I prepared?” although that thought will definitely cross your mind, but also ‘what am I willing to do to survive?” and “how far am I willing to go to help a stranger?”
If you enjoy survival fiction or you just need to restore your faith in the resilience of the human spirit, then I highly recommend this book!!
My rating: 4 1/2 water bottles (believe me, you’ll need water in your doomsday prep kit).
About the Author:
Ray Gorham lives in the small, farming community of Shepherd, Montana with his wife and five children. He runs his log home business by day and writes in the evenings, on weekends, and whenever the weather keeps him inside.
TM: Tell me about your path to publication for 77 Days in September.
RG:Back in 2008 I had a few jobs fall through as the economy crashed, so I knew I’d have some time on my hands. I’d wanted to write a book for some time, so I decided I’d never have a better chance. I wrote most of the winter, then re-wrote it a half dozen times. By August I started querying agents, but had limited success. I queried and re-wrote for another year with no positive results. I had pretty much given up when I read an article concerning self-publishing digitally.
Since I had the book written, I figured I had nothing to lose, so I re-wrote again in my spare time, and finally, in May 2011 I had it where I thought it was fit for publication. With Amazon it started slow (12 the first month), but is now where I’m selling around 2,000 units a month.
TM: How do you balance your writing with your full-time job and roles as father and husband?
RG: Initially it worked well, because my real job was taking 10 hours a week. For the last year I have been able to do very little writing, because work has picked back up pretty good, but not to the point where I’ve been to hire back all of my previous help, so writing ends up last on the list, below work, family and other responsibilities. Next month I’ll be able to hire a couple of folks, so that should allow me to do some more writing.
TM: Do you consider yourself a survivalist?
RG: I consider myself a prepper, though I tend to venture pretty close to being a survivalist. We live on 7 acres, just planted 80 fruit trees, have chickens, food storage, and I just started bee-keeping. I’m not big into guns, so weapons is an area I am lacking in, but I do share a similar mind-set and tendencies with survivalists. Since writing the book I’ve upped the rate of my preparations, and hopefully have influenced others to do so, as well.
TM: What are the top three things your recommend people do to prepare for a catastrophe?
RG: Hard to say without knowing their situation, but there are things everyone can do.
First: Store as much food as you can. If you are hungry and scared you won’t think well in an emergency, so use space under beds, in closets, garages, spare rooms, basements, etc., to store canned food and water. In a severe emergency, grocery stores will be empty in less than 48 hours, and after that it could be months or years before they are restocked.
Second: Make a plan. Where you will go (if you need to leave), how you will cook, travel, communicate and so forth. All those things can fail in an instant.
Third: Practice growing some of your own food. For most of history, over 90% of the population was farmers, now less than 1% is. If we ever need to produce our own food, there will be a lot of people who have never gotten dirt under their fingernails and who will be pretty helpless. Even if it’s just tomatoes and squash, it’s something.
I’m sure there are other things that are important. Just doing something is essential. For too many people, next year is when they are going to start on it.
TM: What is your take on the Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012?
RG: Not sure why the Mayans would have any special insight into the matter, but it does sell books and help ratings. That said, I think the world is due for some corrections. Things have been pretty easy for a long, long time. It might not be 2012, but I think in my lifetime I’ll need to be able to provide for myself due to external factors. I hope I’m wrong, because I have 5 kids who will face the same issues, but I don’t think I am.
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