All of his career, Roberts has been a worker ant on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. He is content with his role in the background. Now, with Ottawa surrounded on all sides by overwhelming numbers of the dead, Roberts is thrust into the role of decision maker as the government begins to fall apart. A rumor swirls through the passages of power that a possible military coup is brewing. Tom Roberts realizes how far into uncharted territory he has travelled. As the crisis deepens, he finds his decisions become more and more ruthless. The boy scout has become bloodied.
GENERAL JOHN C. BEAURAGARD
The General regards himself as the epitome of the southern gentlemen. Molly remarks to her sister that "he has seen Gone with the Wind waaaaay too many times." Still, the more Molly learns of the General the more she is intrigued by him. He uses the firepower of the 1st armored to travel west and proclaim the New Republic of West Virginia. An independent nation. With the war against the dead straining military resources, only 18 thousand National Guard can be spared
to protect Washington. General Beauragard's 63 thousand crack troops has more than just a few people in power nervous. Plus, Beauragard's gross domestic product is on the rise against the faltering United States. The General agrees to appear on Sixty Minutes with Molly Hunter and the verbal sparring begins.
Maggie's sister. The two could not be closer. As sometime occurs in Scottish families, she was born with black skin. Maggie accepts the answer but is somewhat suspicious. Molly embraces her Caribbean-like looks. Stylish, smart and sexy. She has the reputation for asking the tough questions in engaging interviews on Sixty Minutes. In this new and dangerous world, facts, not fluff is the new media king. In Molly's own words: "When the wolves are at the door, no one has time to keep up with the Kardashians."
What if it really happened? I wanted real feelings from real characters. Think about it, how would it really feel? It would be beyond terrifying.
It would be one huge step toward insanity. The psychological scars would run so deep you would never feel safe again. That is FIVE YEARS AFTER.
BUILDING A WORLD
In FIVE YEARS AFTER, I wanted each short story to illuminate this world a bit more. It is much like assembling a puzzle with each story being a piece. The idea of tossing in
the characters knowing each other seemed to strengthen the realism. Whether they had a close personal bond or a distant six degrees of separation,
it has drawn several positive comments.
As she struggles to maintain a facade, Maggie feels herself becoming lost in the abyss of post traumatic stress disorder. In the battle and evacuation of Chicago, Maggie is awarded a commendation for bravery and eventually a Silver Star. One of the US Military's highest honors. She is then told to leave the country and never return. With her leadership and combat experience, it is clear to her new Canadian comrades that Maggie held a much higher rank than Corporal south of the border. But, no one in the US military wants to talk about it.
What if the current Walking Dead/ Apocalypse genre was approached in the style of Tom Clancy with a dash of Michael Crichton? You would have 5 Years After by Richard Correll. A richly researched and dark world that is just hanging on by its fingernails. Politically, economically and on the battlefields it is the ultimate "what if". In the words of KSPK, Colorado: "You will believe." Inhabiting the 5 Years After universe are memorable characters that are defined more by their weaknesses and fears than their strengths. In short, they are just like us.
5 years after
I have never read anywhere in the genre about "The Look." The one that enters their eyes when they see you. A blazing rage that burns brighter when they sniff the air and catch the scent of your skin. A confirmation for the predator.
They should not be alive, you tell yourself. But, there they are.
They are beyond our realm of comprehension.
They cannot be reasoned with.
They live to feed
They are the gathering darkness that is slowly ending all we know.
Yes, I drew a great deal of my inspiration for the feel of FIVE YEARS AFTER from the The Blitz, The Battle of Berlin and many other moments in history. One I found most helpful was Paris in 1916. The former city of lights. Its' citizens now tired, cold and hungry. They yearn for the comfort
of the past while they are watching the lights of civilization slowly winking out all over Europe. Perfect.
BRINGING BACK THE FEAR:
It seems the dead are not quite as frightening as they used to be. The first thing I wanted to do in FIVE YEARS AFTER was make the dead as terrifying as possible. They are the wolves at our door. They deserve to have their teeth back
When Louisville is evacuated, Reverend Isaiah Deacon does as he is ordered and leaves. His parishioners gather at the church in Louisville. waiting for him to tell them what to do. 5 Years after their deaths he travels to Louisville to give each one the Last Rites and a Christian departure from this nightmare world. Slowly, he is washing the blood from his hands one drop at a time.
GENERAL CLAY DAVIDSON
Commander of the Canadian Armed forces Ottawa. Clay Davidson is a man who is helplesslly watching the world slip into darkness. When he is first questioned by Tom Roberts about the rumor of a military coup he denies any knowledge. It is the first lie he has ever told his friend.