Hey! This week we have the fabulous Amy Dunne joining us! Yes, that does make me happy. Amy is a return blogger and this time she’s here to tell us about her new release, a post-apocalyptic book titled The Renegade.
And, because she’s all manner of awesome, she’s giving away TWO ebook copies of The Renegade. Drop a comment in the space below and I’ll draw the winner on Friday, 9/25.
by Amy Dunne
It’s such a pleasure to be back here blogging for Women and Words. This month has been exciting as my third novel, The Renegade has just been officially released by Bold Strokes Books. It’s a speculative fiction romance. I’m a huge fan of the genre, but as I’ve never broached writing this genre before, it’s been a difficult journey to explore a fleeting thought and turn it into a full blown novel. This has been the most challenging novel I’ve written to date. At times the concept, world building, and characters, felt too overwhelming and I felt lost, with no end in sight, but we stuck together and made it through. It’s a story I’m proud of and the characters feel like family.
Let me start with an honest admission. I’m 90% certain that I wouldn’t survive in the post-apocalyptic world I’ve created. I’ve no survival skills to speak of, I’m awful at basic camping, I’m a complete technophobe to the point I don’t know anything other than switching something on and off and maybe hitting it if it still doesn’t work, I have OCD, I’m a hypochondriac, and generally don’t cope well in the great outdoors—as soon as I see a spider I freak out big time and mosquitoes see me as an all they can eat buffet. Plus, I don’t even want to consider a world where I’m alone and my loved ones aren’t with me.
In this post-apocalyptic world, there are many dangers. Most of the population have been wiped out by the Red Death pandemic. There’s no cure and it was never officially confirmed whether the virus was manmade or created by Mother Nature. Flight and fight are no longer options. In the aftermath, towns, cities, and main roads are thriving with disease and death. Everything we have grown to rely on is pretty much gone. But as with the world we live in now, humans remain the most dangerous threat of all.
I try never to write bad or good characters. It’s not realistic as people by our nature are deeply complex. I’m fascinated by what has contributed to that person being who they are. Their decisions, dreams, ambitions, fears, beliefs, history, experiences, psychology, physiology, emotion, and their relationships with others. Someone can make a number of bad decisions and can even do bad acts, but I want to know what led them to that point and why they do the things they do. We all have faults and this is why I never intend to have a bad character for the sake of being bad, there has to be something more substantial to them.
If I asked you what your ideal society would consist of in this new world, your opinion may be completely different to mine. Would you continue to try and use technology? Or would you want to go back to farming the land, sourcing local resources, and living a simpler way of life? Maybe both? Would you insist on keeping religious faith and beliefs? What it other people disagree with your beliefs? How would social roles and power work in your new society? How would you keep yourselves safe and secure? What about judging crimes and dishing out punishment? Would you let anyone join your community or would there be a criteria? Where would your community stand on procreation? After all, the human race is verging on extinction. Do you have moral duty to encourage procreation? What if people disagree? Would you fight / kill to defend yourselves? What if a different community had something that your community desperately needed?
There are no perfect answers that are correct. I can’t say for sure how I would even feel. What one person may think is just and right, will be completely the opposite to someone else’s beliefs. A thought that struck me when contemplating all of this, is how easy it would be for an individual to exert their power and beliefs over others. In desperate and scary times, we seek reassurance and protection. It only takes one person, a great public speaker, a perfect manipulator, someone who may or may not believe that what they are doing is for the best of everyone, who lacks empathy, and sees that opportunity to rule over others. That person is a real danger. That person could change everything. And that’s what scares me.
Now I’m aware that this blog up to now has been quite dark in content and philosophical. It doesn’t have to all be doom and gloom. In this new world, there’s the possibility of starting again. Building a community that has learnt from past mistakes. There is hope of for a peaceful and prosperous future. There is hope for love and relationships. There is hope for humility and empathy and a coming together for the greater good, to not only survive, but to also thrive. And this hope is vital to the characters in The Renegade. Humans haven’t made it this far, to just give up the fight and accept their untimely demise. We can adapt to situations and environments. We have an intrinsic drive to survive and that’s what makes us formidable.
On afinal note, I just want to quickly mention another fairly main character in The Renegade. A few years ago, our first German shepherd, Paddy passed away. He was so loving, gentle, and handsome. One of the perks of being a writer is that you can write stories that can reach lots of people and will hopefully live on long after we’re gone. It was an honour to write Paddy into this story and share his loving, faithful, and mischievous nature. What better tribute could he ask for? So if you do read The Renegade, I hope you enjoy the journey and share a warm thought for the memory of Paddy.
Amy was raised in Derbyshire, England. She attended Keele University and graduated in 2007 with a BSc in Philosophy and Psychology. After graduating she worked for a while with vulnerable young people. She is married to her beautiful wife, Lou. They share a love of Dolly Parton and have a gorgeous cat called Alice and a very mischievous little dog called Kimmy. Amy’s debut novel, Secret Lies won a Golden Crown Literary Award in 2014 in the Young Adult Category.