Day After Disaster
The Changing Earth Series Book 1
by Sara F. Hathaway
She started her day at her home in the mountains just like any other. There was nothing unusual about making the familiar drive down to Sacramento to go to work. Then in a flash Mother Nature decided it was time to create a new landscape. Follow the journey of a dynamic young woman, mother and wife, Erika, as she is thrust into a world turned upside down by a series of natural disasters. Alone in a mutilated city, she must navigate the path home, back to her family. Not knowing if they are alive or dead, Erika calls upon all of her survival instincts to traverse this broken environment. Will she make it home? Will her family still be alive? What will Mother Nature dish out next?
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The Changing Earth Series Book 2
Erika thought America would let freedom reign forever but nine years after the Great Quake the reaction by the American Government was quite different. The Day after Disaster brought hardships to the world. The American citizens fought valiantly to bring back some sense of normalcy in a world that was shaken to bits. Many people were left landless and those still in possession of land had many obligation to fulfill for the citizens left fighting for their lives. Erika and her family are just another group left landless and forced to find their way in this new government construct. They are caught between a yearning for the freedoms they used to take for granted and a will to fit in and excel in this new landscape. However, Mother Nature will always have the last word and she isn’t done yet.
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The Walls of Freedom
The Changing Earth Series Book 3
On the run, Erika, her husband, Vince, and their children flee the government forces in search of a new life. The Great Quake ten years ago left the United States devastated. FEMA camps sprouted up in Regional Districts to control the chaos and separate the landowners from the refugees. Erika and her family spent nine years as refugees in the camp before they found out that Vince's parents were still alive and they were searching for them. The Las Vegas FEMA Director, realizing his mistake, attempted to have the family eliminated to save his career. Vince and Erika take their family's future into their own hands and flee the camp in a cross country action packed adventure. Will they find Vince's parents? Will society accept them again? Can they accept this new government system?
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Battle For the South
The Changing Earth Series Book 4
Unsure of the loyalty of her mentor, Erika and Vince take drastic measures to ensure the safety of their loved ones. After trying to merge back into an American society severely altered by the repercussions of the first Great Quake ten years before, Erika and Vince are unsure whom to trust. Time has spread the people they love out across the country and another Great Quake is imminent. One thing is for sure: they will not let their loved ones be annihilated by disaster. As the Federal Government takes steps to eliminate any signs of resistance among its citizens, Erika and Vince seek refuge in the free south where they can find help to rescue their friends and family from the Las Vegas FEMA camp. Can they make it in time? Are their loved ones still alive? Who is loyal to a freedom that was once provided under the Constitution?
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Dark Days in Denver
The Changing Earth Series Book 5
As the Earth continues to unleash a series of natural disasters at the surviving inhabitants, Erika finds herself hiding from the federal forces aiming to eliminate her. Rapidly trying to adjust to new circumstances, the refugees from the Earth’s fury spread out into new geographic regions, searching for someplace safe to live. The Federal Government’s grip on its lands tightens, as food becomes scarce and overpopulation intensifies. Fighting for control of the West, the world is turned upside down as the unthinkable happens to the planet and Erika’s family. Is this the end of life as they know it? Who will survive to continue the fight for the freedom of the American people?
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I’m not your typical woman. I grew up with a passion for the outdoors. I fished a lot with my family on the Great Lakes of Michigan and learned to bow hunt when I was twelve. Stomping the woodlands on my horse, Kit, was another one of my favorite activities.
Now-a-days I love to learn about wilderness survival and train in self-defense. Teaching others how to prepare for natural disasters, and defend themselves, if needs be, gives my life an irreplaceable sense of fulfillment. I teach taekwondo and participate in jujitsu and sport jujitsu.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
Something really interesting happened to me after I published my first book, Day After Disaster. When I started to introduce it to people, they didn’t just want to know about the book, they wanted to know about the survival techniques that I packed into the book. They pictured themselves as one of the characters from the story and wondered how they would survive if rapid climate change did happen and they were forced to deal with some of the situations that the story presents. It made me understand that not only was I a fiction author, I had an important role to play in educating individuals on the importance of maintaining a relationship with the planet and learning to adapt and survive in a rapidly changing world.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit in Michigan. I loved playing outdoors, but after a move to a more rural area of Michigan my passion exploded. I learned about gardening and canning, hunting and fishing, and moving quietly through the woodlands so that I could experience the activities of nature. I went to Catholic school for the first six years of my school life, that was an interesting experience and then was shuttled to a public school after that. I participated in many sports and enjoyed it, but I really wanted to train in martial arts. I was the type of girl who played ice hockey before girls were really allowed to do so and I spent most of the time in the penalty box. My mother thought I was already too rough and martial arts would only encourage that behavior. It wasn’t until I was twenty two that I decided for myself to make my dream a reality.
What inspired you to write this book?
As a young lady who grew up country, I developed an understanding for the natural world. However, I was watching society become more and more dependent upon technology for day to day survival. As a person with a deep respect for the planet, I came to the realization that the planet is an ever-changing place. Human beings are so fortunate that the climate has remained unchanged for as long as it has. We can study the earth’s history and know that it has had many different climates even since humans have been in existence. However, the relationship that humans had with the planet allowed them to adapt and survive. If we become so dependent upon technology that our bond with the planet is lost, then we may be sealing our own fate.
While driving myself to The California State University of Sacramento from the foothills, I kept thinking what would happen if something happened while I was down in the city. Without my phone I wouldn’t be able to call and find out if my family was okay. Without my car it wouldn’t be such a short trip home. I was also reading The Children of the Earth Series by Jean M. Auel. I was so impressed by her ability to blend a fictional story with real archeological and herbal healing information. I decided to make sure that my books not only told the story of the character but taught hands on skills that the reader could utilize. That way, not only was my story opening their eyes to the possible future that we might be facing, they were also learning to survive it at the same time.
What can we expect from you in the future?
In the future you can expect more novels in The Changing Earth Series. Book 6, The Endless Night, will be released in June and book seven is already in the works. I also have another series that I am working on creating. I love to write and will be creating stories until I die.
My end goal is to have my novel series turned into a TV series. Every time I read my stories, I can picture them on the TV screen playing out in my mind. Through maximum effort, I hope to make this dream a reality.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
All of the characters that I create have deep backstories and character outlines. That way I can keep them all straight. Here are a couple of character backstories that readers may not know about.
Pastor Byron Scott makes an appearance in Without Land (Book 2). He lived in Texas when the Great Quake hit. He was a landowner with a large spread. After seeing the devastation taking place in throughout the country, he donated his land so they could build a youth orphanage there. He went to minister at the Las Vegas Refugee Camp in an effort to assist people who had lost everything.
Vlad Volchenchi is a merchant that makes an appearance in The Walls of Freedom (Book 3). He may pop back up but you’ll need to read and find out. He comes from a long line of fishermen but he enjoyed studying architecture. His family urged him to marry a Russian lady because she was from another prominant fishing family. However, Vlad had the hots for a Chinese woman that had moved to their town with her family. Vlad ended up marrying the Russian woman but she died of sickness in the chaos after the Great Quake. That is when he found his current wife Toni floating in the sea.
The leader of the militia forces in Texas, Jason Dixon, appears in Battle for the South and has a bigger role to play in future novels. Jason had just retired from the Marines as a Master Gunnery Sergeant before the Great Quake. His wife, Stephanie ran a bakery and their son Zakaria, was three. After the quake their town was leveled to create more farm land and they were put into the refugee system because he refused to reenlist. At the camp his wife and son died of influenza. He vowed to change what was going on and became the leader of the Texas militia.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Changing Earth Series?
The lead character in The Changing Earth Series is Erika Moore. She is a wife and mother who started training in martial arts and natural disaster preparedness before the Great Quake happened. Her tenacious spirit and commitment to the principals of the United States of America turn her into a leader. Her resolve is tested many times by the powers in charge, but her loyalty to her family and virtuous personality give her an advantage over those that would plot against her.
Erika is married to Vince Moore. In the first book, Day After Disaster, Erika is unsure whether Vince and her son, Dexter survived or not. Vince is Erika’s center. He is an unsung hero that ensures she comes home safely to him time and time again. He has a love for gardening and can usually be found making sure that people will be fed long into the future.
Star is another powerful female character in the books. She makes her first appearance in book one, Day After Disaster, as an eight-year-old girl. After her father was killed in the Great Quake, she survived with her mother. Erika rescues Star’s mother from an assault but she ends up dying from the injuries she sustained. Star is adopted by Erika and becomes her daughter. Through the necessities of survival, Star becomes a beautiful woman who can kick some butt.
Dexter and Daniel are Vince and Erika’s sons. In Day After Disaster, Dexter starts out as a five-year-old boy. The readers watch him grow into a man during the series. He experiences love, loss and deals with the effects of having the Moore’s as his parents. Daniel does not appear until the second book, Without Land. He is the product of the loss of birth control methods that occurred after the Great Quake. Daniels’s character is an artist who learns to connect his artistic capabilities with his fighting style. Still a preteen, his heart is big but he still has a lot of growing to do.
The final character that play a major role throughout the season is Patrick Bennet. Bennet makes his first appearance in Without Land as a trainer for the Rescue Team that Erika and her family become part of. Bennet is a strong mentor to Erika but he also has a deep loyalty to the Federal Forces of America (all of the military branches are merged). His role is ever evolving throughout the series as he struggles between his obligations to the Moore’s and the governing powers.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
The concept for Day After Disaster came to me one day while I was sitting by the river with some of my girlfriends. I asked them, “what if we lost power?” They responded, “We wouldn’t have blow dryers and our curling irons.” I was shocked at their response, as my mind thought of the lack of communications and refrigeration. I realized that our society is so dependent upon electricity and the conveniences of technology that we don’t even realize how much it supports our life styles. I was attending college in the city of Sacramento. Each day that I had to leave my family, in the foothills, and drive down the highway to school, I thought, what if disaster strikes while I’m down here and they are up there? I started writing the story of what could happen and Day After Disaster was born.
Some of the characters in my books are completely fiction and some are fictional representations of people that are a part of my life. When I create a character, I try to develop that character’s quarks and back story to make them more believable. I find an image on the internet that I believe fits that character and put them all in a book. That way, every time I think of that character I can go back to their image and story and do a good job of representing them.
There are also characters in my book that have been created or suggested by people I have met along my author journey. I do offer a subscription program to support my work on my website and on one level, creating a character is an option. I like creating these characters because I can’t think exactly like someone else. I will think about someone differently than someone else so to have them suggest a character is like being able to think exactly like that individual for a moment. Then, I take the character and set them off on their journey. I can’t always guarantee they will be nice people or live very long, though.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
The original name for Day After Disaster was going to be The Beginning of the End. However, there were already lots of books with that title so we changed it to Day After Disaster. I thought it was appropriate because I wanted to tell the story from the moment of the disaster forward. Lots of Hollywood films show up to the disaster and then it is averted or some time after the disaster but rarely do they show the chaos that immediately follows.
The title for Without Land came to light during editing. Without Land tells the story of what happened to the people who lost their land or were not landowners at the time of the disaster. The government couldn’t allow them to run amuck all over the place. Skirmishes and lawlessness was gripping the country. All of the refugees and non-landowners were rounded up and put into FEMA camps. With the lack of oil, the landowners needed labor to farm and feed the people. A system was developed to adopt out refugee families to landowners to fill this gap. Thus, the title Without Land seemed very fitting.
The title for The Wall of Freedom seemed appropriate because as the Moore family is re-integrated into the new societal structure, they learn that all of the regions are separated by walls. The landowners call them “the walls of freedom” because they keep everyone on the inside safe from the chaos going on outside of them.
Battle for the South was an easy title to pick for obvious reasons. Vince and Erika head south to help save loved ones from a new ocean surge. The government is not going to try to evacuate anyone. Instead, they plan on dealing with the aftermath and taking back the south. On a mission to stop this from happening, Vince and Erika help the battle for the south to begin.
The title Dark Days in Denver seemed appropriate because this novel takes place in Colorado. Even though the beginning is a peaceful time of character development, the end is all about the battle for Denver. Mother Nature rears her ugly head again, causing further chaos and Erika’s life is forever altered.
My new book coming out in June of 2019 is titled The Endless Night. It is a dark time for the planet as well as Erika. She enters the Central Region as a hostage of TJ Swenson’s, believing her family has been murdered. Hopelessness and misery overwhelm her as the sun is hidden from the sky.
Who designed your book covers?
I design all of my own book covers. Originally, Day After Disaster, the original was designed by a self-publishing company that I used. I was unhappy with their work, so I educated myself on how to publish the book and design my covers myself. Originally the cover showed Erika paddling towards buildings. I wasn’t crazy about the idea and always wanted her paddling towards the mountains so I reworked the cover and now I am very happy with it.
The two covers that I am most proud of are the covers for book three, The Walls of Freedom, and The Endless Night which will be coming out in June. It was tricky to make the word “Freedom” for The Walls of Freedom cover look like graffiti on the wall with the handprint underneath but I think it paints a powerful message. The cover for The Endless Night is spooky. During this story the villain, TJ Swenson, watches Erika constantly and the sky is always gloomy without sun. The cover is a black clouded sky with a tiny bit of orange glow at the bottom. Then, I blended TJ’s eyes into the clouds to make them appear like they are staring at the reader.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I had it to do all over again, I may have put more military technical information (like gear, equipment, etc.) into the Denver battle. However, I like to tell the story from an individual character point of view so the reader can feel like they are there rather than doing an overview. Also when you delve into to technical information like that it is lost on some readers and over scrutinized by others.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that Arizona is a good deal higher than sea level. This is important to know where the water would go as it floods the land.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Hold on tight it’s a wild ride. Along the way you are going to learn a lot. You will face a plethora of ethical decisions. Characters you love will triumph and others will not make it. In the end, you will have a solid understanding of why our relationship with the planet is essential and why individual freedoms are worth fighting for.
Convince us why you feel your series is a must read.
My books are an absolute must read because there is something for everyone. Action lovers with be delighted how the story rapidly moves from sequence to sequence. Intellectuals will become consumed with the information on societal rebounding, climate change and survival techniques packed into the pages. Family and romance lovers will become enthralled with the love story that plays out between Vince and Erika. The Changing Earth Series with make your heart pound, your brain think and keep you rapidly flipping the pages the whole way through.
What did you edit out of this book?
This is a funny question. My husband always helps me to content edit my books. I tend to be a very nitty gritty writer even when it comes to sexual activity. There are often times, especially during my first books that my husband would make me soften these scenes so they were not so pornographic. I ensured that the sex scenes were typically between a married couple but they were a little graphic when I first started writing. I figured, it’s the end of the world why not?
Tell us a fun fact!
The biggest “Did you know” about my books is the story of Sergeant Patrick Bennet. He makes his first appearance during the story Without Land. However, when I originally wrote the story, he was not a character in it. Book 2 and 3 were supposed to be one story but as I was writing it became apparent that the story of the FEMA camp needed to be its own book. The story did not have a climax at that point so I went back in and created Sergeant Bennet as the character that would bring about the climax of the story. My audience loved him and he became a pivotal part of the series.
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