The Earth is in ruins. Cities and nations destroyed. Those who survive the onslaught succumb to the cold blackness of winter. A handful of machines finally emerge into the light, lost and directionless. They are the last remnants of civilisation.
Brant is a synthetic – a machine who has the appearance and emotions of the humans who made him. He is hunted across the wasteland by cruel scavengers known as Marauders who are intent on cannibalising his body to prolong their own lives.
Brant carries a great burden as he tries to return home: a secret that can change the world. Against the unforgiving desert, the twisted denizens of this new world and his own dark past he needs to find a way back at any cost.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I always wanted to write a post-apocalyptic novel where the outlook was very bleak and the future uncertain, and then throw some characters into the mix to see how they handle this world. There are some very interesting themes that I found came out of this mix – despair, sadness, but also hope and an exploration of what it means to be human.
How is writing SciFi different from other genres?
I love speculative fiction as it allows the creation of entire new worlds. There really are no boundaries – if you can imagine it, you can create it. I love that kind of freedom when I write.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters were borne out of the themes that I’m using in the book – there are characters defined by despair, some by hope, while others oscillate between these two extremes. Once I had these basic building blocks for the characters I inserted all of the nuances that help to make characters interesting and compelling, such as their motivations and backstory.
At the crest of a rise I stopped to survey the desert, trying to gather my bearings. The city below me sat baking in the afternoon sun, its spires parched and brittle like stalks of dead grass. The sky pressed in, a smouldering dark orangey-red that served as a reminder that the Winter had not long passed.
Once it might have been a gleaming hub of humanity cradled in a picturesque valley, but now the city was just a dustbowl collecting detritus that blew in from the plains.
I couldn’t be sure if I’d been here before. Out in the wasteland, these ruined metropolises all began to look the same. Empty and abandoned to the whim of the elements, their once noisy, bustling streets now found voice only through the scraping of wind across the ruin of steel and concrete and glass.
Behind me, a set of footprints trailed into the distance as far as I could see. They were transient, soon to be scuffed away by the shifting sands with not a trace to be found.
That was a good thing, for it helped to camouflage my passage from those who hunted me. But it was not enough to hide me forever. They were resourceful, and tenacious, and full of hate. They would keep coming.
I looked wistfully toward home, somewhere out there in the west. I thought of everything I’d left behind, everything I’d given up, and of how I’d protected it the only way I could: by forsaking it, by leading the menace away.
The same menace that, now, I couldn’t escape.
On the horizon a dark smudge was looming, a sight that was all too familiar and yet still filled me with a sense of dread.
And it was moving fast.
About the Author:
Mark R. Healy is an author and musician from Brisbane, Australia. From an early age he loved to create, and often assembled his own illustrated books with accompanying stories – and then forced his parents to buy them.
Unfortunately this model was not scalable and Mark now seeks to promote his works to a wider audience.
Mark has also combined his storytelling prowess with music, creating a project called ‘Hibernal’ through which he interweaves original sci-fi stories with his own music to create an immersive theatrical experience for the listener. Combined with a professional voice cast and sound effects, these “audio movies” are available online through iTunes, Bandcamp and Amazon under the name ‘Hibernal’.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy After the Winter Print Edition at Amazon
Link to After the Winter Print book for sale at CreateSpace
Links to Purchase eBooks
Link To Buy After the Winter On Amazon