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Friday, August 1, 2014

The source of my inspiration keeps me up at night

George Hodan
I’m often asked where I get the inspiration for my novels.  The quick answer is it often comes from worries that keep me up at night. I’ve found plumbing the depths of ones deepest fears is a rich environment within which to find themes and setting for my thrillers.

The more irrational and unlikely the fear, the better story it makes.
Humanity likes to think it’s in control of its destiny.  We tell ourselves we are smart and capable enough to handle any crisis.  And why shouldn’t we believe this?  We’ve dodged every threat so far be it the plague or nuclear war.
But this is a false sense of optimism, for there are threats to humanity that no amount of human ingenuity can prevent.  Things like extinction events. 

In my first novel, Unleashing Colter's Hell the plot hangs on one such natural disaster that if it humanity may not survive.  The story is set in Yellowstone national park, where I had the honor of working as a park ranger.  Most visitors to the park know about its geysers and bears.  But few appreciate the fact that Yellowstone is the world’s largest super volcano. If it were to erupt as it has in the recent past the northwest corner of Wyoming would be unlivable for centuries. The Eastern half the United States would be buried under tens of feet of ash, and the world’s temperature would drop to levels not seen in tens of thousands of year. Much of the world’s agriculture, transportation, and water supplies would be destroyed, millions if not billions of people would die.

Scientists tell us it’s not a matter of if Yellowstone will erupt but when.  Even more terrifying, if Yellowstone were to begin waking up today, there is nothing we can do to stop it.
That’s the backdrop for Unleashing Colter’s Hell, where a mad man has acquired an atomic bomb, with the plan to detonate it in Yellowstone, triggering a cataclysmic eruption. Park Ranger Grayson Cole is all that stands between the world and Armageddon.

World destruction isn’t the central fear of my second novel, Lost Cause. No, this time it’s revolution, or more precisely the start of a second Civil War which serves as the organizing fear. America has enjoyed more than 150 years of domestic peace since the Civil War. People have come to expect that civil war is impossible in modern society and the American ideals of democracy and freedom will continue forever.  But are we justified in this assumption? Lost Cause, presents a story, where some don’t except that end of the civil war. It’s merely half time, is their motto. Seems far-fetched?  Not really, for there are organizations and politicians that exposes the dismantling of America.  It appears our politics is more divided than ever. Fertile grounds for civil war.

My third novel focuses on invasion. Not invasion from a foreign army, rather invasion that’s more alien in nature. I didn’t say these fears have to be rationale; they just have to evoke a deep emotional response. Look for Need to Know in 2016.

So what keeps you up at night?

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