A World Torn Down A Novel of Survival After the Apocalypse
by Rebecca Fernfield Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Print Length: 664 pages
Publisher: Fruits of All Hallows Publication Date: November 19, 2019
An extinction-level plague is only the beginning.
Cassie Morgan watched the world die from the comfort of her penthouse suite. She never expected her life of privilege to come to an end but, with all food gone, she has to face the survivors in the city alone.
Sometimes, when the SHTF, you have to kick off your strappy sandals, let your fake tan fade, your Brazilian grow out, and become the woman you are meant to be.
Rick Carter is the last of his unit to survive. To stay alive he must escape the disease infested city and head north to his prepper friend's self-sufficient farm. The last thing he needs is to rescue a woman with zero survival skills.
When the apocalypse arrives, most will die, some will survive, whilst others will thrive.
With most of the city dead, and no sign of rescue, Cassie and Rick have to rely on their own ingenuity to deal with the end of the world. Working together wasn’t what either had planned, but these are desperate times.
Does Rick have what it takes to get them to the farm?
Can Cassie rise to the challenge of survival?
Will Rick have the stomach to help when he discovers Cassie's secret?
'A World Torn Down' is an epic tale of the apocalypse with a fresh take on TEOTWAWKI.
Previously published as six books: 'The Road to Ruin', 'The Savage Road', 'The Outcast's Journey', 'The Path to Despair', 'The Route to Justice', and 'The Road to Redemption'.
What readers say:
The series gave me a very Walking Dead comic feel. I loved it, and the characters were all very well written. The detail that went into all the characters was brilliant.
It was fast paced and kept you interested right to the last sentence.
I loved the strong female characters, Cassie being my absolute favourite, I love how she just gets things done and doesn't let the male characters walk over her.
This series kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. I would have to stop to go to work, and all I could think of was the book and getting back to finding out what would happen next.
British author, Rebecca Fernfield, is a lapsed medievalist, and former research fellow, given to flights of fancy about the end of the world and what she'd do if the supermarkets suddenly ran out of chocolate, wine, and other essentials!
A full-time novelist, she lives with her numerous children among the flatlands of the Humber estuary where Vikings and Saxons once fought and where, sometimes, on foggy mornings, you can still hear the echoes of clashing swords.
She writes action-packed, suspenseful tales of horror, the supernatural, and the apocalypse.
She can't stop writing because the voices in her head just won't shut up and there are SO many stories to tell.
Don't lose touch! You can join her newsletter for the latest updates about new releases and the bribe of a free book.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Lincolnshire, England, and grew up in a small market town. The town lies beside a major river and I’ve grown up with a need to be near boundaries and coastlines. I love the landscape with its marshlands and reedbeds, and feel very much at home when the fog rolls in across the flat lands of the river’s flood plains and the boats’ warning fog horns sound. On those days, I often imagine what it would have been like to live here when the Anglo Saxons, Vikings, and Danes made their settlements.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time I considered myself a writer was when I made my very first sale. Honestly, I get a thrill each time I make a book sale, or someone borrows a copy through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited programme.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I don’t have a favourite movie, although I do have a favourite genre, and that is stories of alien invasion. The first time I was blown away by a story, was listening to Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’ on a camping holiday down in Cornwall. I was truly overawed, and that sense of wonder and fear has stayed with me since. In that genre I love the movie ‘War of the World’s’ starring Tom Cruise. A movie that I was enthralled by recently was ‘A Quiet Place’. I went to the cinema twice to watch it and it captivated me both times.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Readers have often mentioned that they’d love to see my books as movies. I’d love to see ‘A World Torn Down’ made into a television series, but it is my version of the alien invasion story, ‘Mortal Skies’ that I could see as a blockbuster film. Also, ‘The Kielder Strain’ with its story of a secretive experiment gone wrong and the creation a new kind of monster, that would make a terrifying horror film.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’m fascinated by disaster and seeing how people react in difficult situations. I wanted to put somebody that you wouldn’t ordinarily find in a post-apocalyptic book or film, in the story and take them through the apocalypse. Cassie, the leading lady in ‘A World Torn Down’, is a beautiful but neglected trophy wife and seems completely unsuited to a life of survival but, like most of us, she has hidden depths as well as some dark secrets. I had a lot of fun taking her, and her billionaire husband Dan, through the apocalypse and beyond.
What can we expect from you in the future?
In the future I plan to write a lot more in the disaster/apocalypse/survival genre as I have so many stories to tell. I love to write big CGI style scenes and the apocalyptic genre is the perfect genre to indulge myself there. I also like to put my characters into difficult and terrifying situations and see how they cope and overcome their problems, so again, the apocalyptic genre is a wonderful space to write in.
I’d love to write another post-apocalyptic series, and have started a sequel series to ‘A World Torn Down’ and set sixteen years after the extinction-level plague wiped out most of humanity.
I also love writing horror, so you can expect some fast-paced horror novels from me. I’d like to try my hand at modern gothic too and have the bare bones of a story plotted.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in ‘A World Torn Down’?
‘A World Torn Down’ spans a three-year timeline and features a number of different characters. The main ones are Cassie Morgan, the beautiful but neglected trophy wife of Dan Morgan. Dan is CEO of Morgan Industries, the company that created the plague bacterium. Dan and Cassie watch the world die from the comfort of their penthouse suite and hope that their dark secret dies with the victims.
Alongside those main characters are Deacon Carlisle, and Rick Carter. Deacon is a man with enormous physical presence (I imagine him as a Jason Mamoa figure) who is devoured by anger at the death of his wife and soul-mate Jules. He clings to life, driven by the need to punish the man who caused the plague, Dan Morgan. Rick Carter is a rather cynical soldier, the sole survivor of a team of men sent into the city to help with the evacuation. He never expected everyone to die so quickly and has a low opinion of those who have survived. At the beginning of the book he is headed north to his friend’s farm to escape the diseases that are festering in the city. The last thing he needs are survivors without a clue how to survive relying on him and hindering his journey.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed writing the mean characters in this book the most. Making them do and say horrible things was enormous fun. Also seeing them get their just desserts was cathartic too.
Who designed your book covers?
I’ve used a variety of cover designers. All of them are amazingly talented, but here’s a run down of those I’ve used:
‘A World Torn Down’ – Covers by Christian
‘Mortal Skies’ – Matt Seff Barnes
‘Blackout and Burn’ – Art4Artists
‘The Kielder Experiement’ series – Ivan at Book Covers Art
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think there’s anything I would change about ‘A World Torn Down’ although I wish I had started the sequel series far sooner than I have.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
In the writing of my most recent book, ‘The Alaska Strain’, I learnt that sometimes the books that your readers rave about the most, may not be your best sellers. I’ve also learnt that with each book my craft evolves and, I hope, improves.
How did you come up with name of this book?
I wanted the title to reflect the epic nature of the story and how the world within its pages lies in a ruined state, destroyed by man, so ‘A World Torn Down’ seemed like a natural fit.
How long have you been writing?
The official start of my writing career was in March 2017 when I published my first novels. However, I had been writing for a while before that. At first, I wrote for children, then progressed to young adults, until finally my confidence grew and I decided that what I really wanted to do was write books for adults.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
The characters usually come to me as I write. I often have one or two characters to start with but, as the story moves along, other characters will introduce themselves. Often new characters take the story in new, unexpected directions, which can be exciting. I particularly enjoy it when a quirky or unpleasant character turns up; they can be the most fun to write. A great example is Saskia in my novel ‘A World Torn Down’. She’s a first-class bitch and says the worst things to the other characters! I don’t think she has any kind of social filter and operates at a psychopathic level.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Research for my books can span a whole lifetime! There may be things I research as I’m writing to give the scene/idea more depth, but my books often contain ideas that have been part of my knowledge base for years. My stories are often triggered by something I’ve read or heard about several years prior to actually starting to write a book. For example, ‘The Kielder Strain’ is my version of the werewolf story. Research for the book started with the first film I saw in my teens.
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely, and it is a very rewarding one once you have readers who love your work. I love getting emails and messages from readers asking when my next book is going to be published, or letting me know that they’ve just read one of my books and loved it.
However, writing fiction or non-fiction as a career has to be coupled with a business mindset. Writing a great novel is one thing. Writing a great novel that you are able to bring to market and sell to readers is quite another.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
Publishing is tough. It’s a business, and you have to have a business mindset to really succeed and as a creative that can be a massive challenge.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I love to read and lose myself in someone else’s imagination. I’m an eclectic reader, so am willing to try most genres, Jane Austen used to be an absolute favorite (I even started a university degree because they had programme of study dedicated to her) but my go-to genre is horror, so Stephen King, and James Herbert are my author heroes! I’ve read and re-read many of their novels. One book I discovered recently, although it was published in the 1960s, is Richard Matheson’s ‘I am Legend’. I found it completely enthralling and read it in two sittings. It’s the book that inspired the film starring Will Smith. The story is quite different, but I love them both.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I have to write in a quiet space, so no music for me. If I’m in the flow, then I don’t notice the noises around me, but trying to get my head into that writing space can be tough and I’m far too easily distracted.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I have tried SO many times to write more than one book at a time, but I just don’t seem to have enough headspace to carry two stories. I can think about another book, and that often happens as soon as I start writing my latest novel; a case of the next shiny new thing! I know authors who do manage it, but I need to immerse myself in the story and my characters, so whilst other characters may start nagging at me to write their story, I can only jot down ideas rather than write their stories.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
I am in awe of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘The Scarlet Letter’. I wish I had his talent for prose.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I used to write with a pen and then type up what I’d written. However, this is laborious and wastes a lot of time. If I’m out and about I always carry a notebook and pen so that I can jot things down, or even write a paragraph or two if need be, but I use my laptop 99% of the time. I can touch-type so it’s much easier to keep up with my flow of thoughts; my handwriting becomes an indecipherable scrawl if I get overexcited!
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I have wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. I have an aunt who writes, and she was very fond of telling me that there is a novel in us all. I’m creative, and have to have an outlet for that creativity, and telling stories lets me do that. Plus, I love the idea of entertaining people, and as a writer, that is my main goal. That I get to earn a living doing just that is absolutely fantastic. Self-publishing is a rollercoaster ride and can be very tough when your book doesn’t sell as well as you’d like, or someone leaves a bad review, but I definitely made the right decision.
A day in the life of the author?
I write when my children are at school as I find it impossible to write when they are at home. They also need my attention and I have given up trying to write and look after them too. My day starts at 5 am when I get up and do my chores then get the children off to school. Once back home, I check my sales and any messages from other authors or readers. I also check to see how my adverts on Facebook and Amazon are running. As soon as possible, I get down to writing. If I’m a little stuck, I reread the previous chapter, or refresh my memory with any notes, then try to use the time until school ends to write. It’s a matter of bum in seat and fingers on the keyboard five days a week for me.
Advice they would give new authors?
If you want to write just write. If you want to write in order to earn a living, learn as much as you can about self-publishing, read heavily in your chosen genre, then write a book those readers are going to love.
Also, once you’ve written your book don’t ask friends or relatives to read it and give you feedback. Instead, find a reader who loves that genre and ask them for an honest response. Listen to negative criticism and use it to improve your craft. It’s far more difficult to find someone willing to tell you where you’re going wrong than it is to find a reader who will tell you your story is just great!
Describe your writing style.
Fast-paced and full of action. I write in the present tense which I think gives my writing an immediacy. Readers often comment on how vivid my writing is too, as though they’re watching a movie in their head.
What makes a good story?
A good story is one that captures your attention from the first page and doesn’t let it go until the end. I love character-led stories. Discovering how a character thinks, what drives them, and their past lives is fascinating. I also love plot-twists that I don’t see coming. A good story has to entertain, and engage with the reader’s emotional need whether that is to read a story that scares them, intrigues them, or makes them laugh. Each genre has readers with different needs.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I write the blurb first! I know it sounds odd, but I find it a great springboard for the story. I may have a vague idea of what the story is about, but thinking about how I will present it to the reader in a few short sentences helps crystallize it for me. I often have the ending and a general idea. I’m rubbish at plotting although when I get stuck, I will sit down and try to think through key scenes.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Being tired, comparing myself to other writers and feeling inadequate by comparison.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to be entertaining within the expectations of the genre but with my own twist on the story.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I don’t find writing about characters from the opposite sex difficult.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
For a sixty thousand-word book, it can take between four and eight weeks depending on how easily the words flow. My first book took me two years to write and, in those days, I would often only manage 200 words a day. Since then, I’ve written a fair number of books, and nearly a million words. It’s true that the more you practice the better you become. On a good day I can write five thousand decent words although I’m far more comfortable with around three to four thousand.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not really. Sometimes it can be tougher than at other times to get the words down, or get into that state of flow. If a story comes to a grinding halt it is perhaps because I don’t feel comfortable with the subject matter and need to do more research, or sometimes the story doesn’t have legs. I came across a really interesting article the other day outlining steps you can take if you’re stuck with a story. Basically, have a brain-storming session and list twenty exciting things that could happen to your character in the story. Choose the five most intense and work those into your story. I won’t go through the whole process here, but it works.
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