Monday, February 10, 2014

Radio Hope, a Toxic World by Sean McLachlan

How many of us are left? And, where is this radio voice coming from?


Cover for Radio Hope, by Sean McLachlan


In a world shattered by war, pollution and disease. . .


A gunslinging mother longs to find a safe refuge for her son.

A frustrated revolutionary delivers water to villagers living on a toxic waste dump.

The assistant mayor of humanity's last city hopes he will never have to take command.

One thing gives them the promise of a better future--Radio Hope, a mysterious station that broadcasts vital information about surviving in a blighted world. But when a mad prophet and his army of fanatics march out of the wildlands on a crusade to purify the land with blood and fire, all three will find their lives intertwining, and changing forever.


The Interview
What is Radio Hope?
  
Cover for Radio Hope, by Sean McLachlan

Just to whet your interest, I asked Sean to answer a few questions I jotted down when I first saw his blurb on Radio Hope. I've just started reading a copy, so look for a review in the future.



DG: What location is the setting for the story? Europe or the North American continent?

Sean: I leave that deliberately vague. It’s been nearly forty years since the last city-state fell, and only a few old people remember any of the national governments that we would recognize. The local area, including New City, the Burbs, and Toxic Bay, are based on a real place, but I’ll leave it to the reader to figure it out.

DG: Is the story concentrated around the characters' individual struggles or the big confrontation?

Sean:The residents of New City and its adjoining shantytown, the Burbs, are preparing for the invasion of the Righteous Horde and its crazed messiah, the Pure One. But for me as a writer, it’s the personal reactions of the characters to this threat that are more interesting. The cult won’t arrive for several days, and so the main characters will find their best and worst traits coming out.

DG: Who is the strongest character in your story? Why? (who is the strongest in their convictions to survive, or the strongest in terms of motivating others?)

Sean: The plot centers around three protagonists, all of whom are strong (and weak) in their own ways.

Annette Cruz, the bouncer at the most popular bar in the Burbs, is the toughest in a fight, but she also has more to lose. She’s a single mother trying to raise her ten-year-old son in the midst of squalor and crime. The number of people she trusts can be counted on one hand. Unfortunately for her, she’s thrust into a situation where she has to trust people she wouldn’t otherwise.

Jackson Andrews is the strongest when it comes to ideals. He was a citizen of New City until he was branded and exiled for the crime of affixing Blame for the fall of civilization. This hasn’t stopped him from proclaiming his version of the truth, and who listens and who doesn’t becomes a key part of the story.

Marcus Callahan is the best survivor by the mere fact that he’s the oldest. A refugee from the last city-state, he and a few others founded New City. He’s now assistant mayor and is quite happy staying number two—there’s privilege yet no ultimate responsibility. He’d like to keep it that way.

***

DG: Is the 'radio' the old ham* type?

Sean: There isn’t much technology left in this world, and most of it is concentrated in New City, where they have electricity thanks to some solar cells and a tidal generator. There’s nothing much in the wildlands except a few fortified farms, roving bandits, and scavengers.

Yet somewhere out there, in the mountains perhaps, or beyond the great toxic wasteland, there’s Radio Hope. It broadcasts a powerful and steady signal on AM for twelve hours a day, giving instructions on how to survive in a fallen world. Radio Hope’s broadcasts cover everything from treating a sprained ankle to purifying water, and none of the announcers ever identify themselves. They seem to be the only people in the world who give something without expecting something in return. That, of course, has everyone wondering.

I’ve always loved radio so it was nice to be able to use it in my novel. I used to be a ham radio operator, using the equipment at the University of Arizona back in my undergraduate days to talk to people as far away as Korea and Greece. I still listen to shortwave broadcasts with my son.

***Sean McLachlan is an archaeologist turned writer who is the author of several books of fiction and history. Check him out on his blog Midlist Writer.

* Ham Radio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio

Good Luck, Sean! I'm going to enjoy reading Radio Hope. I've already been impressed by Annette, in the opening pages.

***

Are you familiar with Sean's novels or his blogs? Do you have basic survival skills, in the event of an apocalypse? What survival items would you have with you in your work bag or in your car?

Please share your thoughts in the comments, and thanks for dropping by!

***
http://midlistwriter.blogspot.ca/ Midlist Writer, Sean McLachlan's Blog


28 comments:

  1. This book sounds great. I love the mystery of the radio and the differences in the main characters.

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    1. I've started reading Radio Hope, Susan, and the characters intrigue me too.

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  2. Replies
    1. It's a pleasure Sean. I'm wondering where Radio Hope is too.

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  3. Does part of the story revolve around finding out who runs Radio Hope?

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    1. Well, Sean? I've just started reading it, and I'm wondering if it's live people broadcasting. . .

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    2. That's part of the plot, yes. Of course, the first priority is survival!

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  4. D.G.--I'm sure you will enjoy the ending just as much as I did. (You're based in Paris? Color me green. My favorite part of the world is France--actually southern France.)

    D.G.--Thanks for posting this interview. I found it interesting that Sean has always been interested in radios, considering the importance of the radio in this novel. And Sean--good luck with this book.

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    1. Good to know, Sioux, and no need to be green. I'm not based in Paris, but in Canada. (I sent Sean a message about that). Makes me sound much more worldly, though. I'm a Francophile and I took tons of photos when I visited Paris. Fell in love with the city and its people.

      As for Radio Hope, now I want to know what 'little thing' was wrapped up at the end. . .

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  5. Best survivor because he's the oldest - well, that's very true. LOL

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    1. Or he's extremely lucky. (what does he know that he's not telling?)

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    2. He knows all too much. It comes out bit by bit through the series.

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  6. Sounds like a fascinating book. As with THE WALKING DEAD, we all wonder how we would survive in a world gone savage. Sean gets to try to survive Meilori's tomorrow!

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    1. That should be fun, Roland. An archaeologist in Meilori's! I'll be watching for it.

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  7. Great interview, sounds intriguing!

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    1. Sean has given us a story that could be an alternate future we never want to see.

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  8. Hi DG .. interesting to read some more about the novel - the settings sound intriguing and Sean obviously isn't giving anything away ... I just admire all who can weave tales like this ..

    Good to Sean and I'll be over to Meliori's tomorrow (today probably!) .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Yes, Hilary, it should be an interesting read. I've just gotten started but I like what I see so far.

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  9. Great interview with lots of food for thought. Years ago, when I was teaching on Okinawa, a ham operator in Arizona facilitated calls between Okinawa and New Orleans. Forever grateful as this very nice operator saved me a ton of money!

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    1. Another story from your travels, Kittie, is always fun to hear. I've also heard ham radio operators are usually very nice.

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    2. After the 1994 earthquake in LA our club helped send messages back and forth with ham operators over there. There was a nationwide network of ham operators relaying messages between worried relatives.

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  10. I like the idea of a mysterious radio station giving hope and advice. Sounds like an interesting read.

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    1. You never hear of ham radio operators much anymore. Hope you're healing, Inger.

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    2. They're still around. I'm afraid I dropped out after I left university.

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  11. Interesting!
    And an archaeologist turned writer. Very cool. Love the sound of the book. I'm sure I'd be unprepared for an apocalypse buy my hubby wouldn't be. He's good like that.

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    1. That husband would be an asset for sure. I have taken an emergency preparedness course.

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  12. I'm hosting a guest post from Sean on my blog later today/ tomorrow.

    Interesting to read about all his characters, in light of what I read on his post for me.

    I like the interview questions, DG.

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    1. Sorry to be so late replying, but pc problems have been resolved now. It was my pleasure to have Sean as a guest to tell us about his book. Different questions on different blogs work well. with a launch.

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