Monday, November 28, 2016

L.R. Burkhard and Pulse

Why did you choose to write this book?
PULSE shows the aftermath of a solar flare which has caused an EMP (an electromagnetic pulse) which takes down the electric grid for the continental United States.  Life is changed, virtually instantly. Reduced to existence without the help of anything electric or electronic—no heating systems, no air conditioning, no telephones, (not even cell phones) no TV, radio or internet, people have to learn to survive like Pioneers. Most transportation would be immediately disrupted. (Your fancy new expensive car probably won't run after am EMP, either.) Can you imagine?   I did.  And thus, my series was born.

 What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned SO much—that an EMP is possible, for starters. It's not broad science fiction—it can really happen, and has happened in the past. But the largest recorded event in history took place in 1859 before we had this tremendously fragile infrastructure based on electrical wires. If the same event were to occur today, the US Congress estimates that it would result in the deaths of over 70 million people in this country. That's the bad news. I also learned good things, that food storage is possible, and that there ARE ways to survive if such a disaster were to occur. But it takes preparation. Throughout the book, readers can see how some people did prepare and get by—and how others didn't.  

 What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?
 I'm not an in-depth planner. I plan one to two huge things to happen in the lives of all of the central characters—which may or may not overlap with each other—and then I fill in the blanks, supply the back story that is vital—and only that which is vital—to bring about those events. They may need foreshadowing, or earlier instances and these lead up to the main event, which becomes the turning point of the book—the climax. After that, I wind things up, tie loose ends, and I've got the whole book done. There's a lot of brainstorming that happens on the way, but it happens organically—one event leading to another. I don't artificially impose things on a story that isn't already going in that direction.   

 What are your favorite writing conferences and why?
 The ones I'm teaching at! Why? Not because I don't enjoy learning from others, but because I relish helping other writers, and I hone my own skills and expertise when I prepare to present it for others. At a recent conference where I taught a class, an attendee said to me afterwards, "Your workshop was worth the price of the whole conference." Statements like that make the preparation worth it. I try to pack my classes with value a writer can walk away with and implement, whether in their writing, their marketing or their publishing.   

 What are you working on right now?
The third book in the PULSE EFFEX SERIES. PULSE is like Season One of a suspenseful show you'd watch on television. Book Two, RESILIENCE, is Season Two. So I'm almost finished with Book Three (tentatively titled RESISTANCE) and I'm considering adding a fourth installment, which I'll call RESURGENCE. Each book takes the characters further along as they survive in a world gone dark, while also introducing new characters, new dangers, and new close escapes. I'm a visual person and I see my scenes unfold like a movie—so that's the best way for me to describe each book—like a full season of a great suspenseful show. But I'm careful to remember my audience for this series—many of whom want to learn survival tips while they're entertained. Again, I want to pack as much value in my stories as I can. (Which is why there is almost always a character who is in need of—and gets to hear—the gospel.) "Never a dull moment," is how one reader put it, when reviewing this series.     

Tell us a little more about yourself, with three things not many people know about you.   
I was a Fine Arts major for two years before getting my BA in English Lit. I love art, especially Impressionism, and I enjoy painting. #2. I'm a concealed carrier—my husband and I enjoy spending time together at a little "shooting range" on our three acres. #3. I come from a family of eight children and grew up in a three story house with grandparents on the third floor for some of those years. That meant there were often a lot of people around at any given time! To this day, I can write with all kinds of noise around me.     

 How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I have a newsletter that has attracted a great group of "readers, writers, poets and dreamers." I send new issues out once or twice a month and I have content that not only informs readers of my book progress or news, but which gives inspiration and encouragement to writers as well. I love to include survey questions so I get to know my list. I also do two book drawings a month from that list, so anyone can get two chances a month to win a book by joining my tribe. They can sign up at either of my websites, which are, or   

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