Good morning Everyone. Please join us in welcoming guest blogger, Keena Kincaid, author of ANAM CARA from The Wild Rose Press. She lives on the frozen tundra sometimes called Chicago. If a passing comet knocks the world off its axis, she hopes the Windy City becomes a tropical paradise. You can find her at http://www.Keenakincaid.com, as well as MySpace and FaceBook.
Where is Buffy Summers when you need her?
When I sat down to write this, I had planned to talk about the rules of world building and how to apply the same principles to write an historical novel even if you’re not a history geek like me.
Then I stumbled across 2012.
For those of you who don’t know, Dec. 21, 2012, is the day we’re destined to run out of time, according to the Mayan calendar. I remember hearing about this “prophesy” as a child – probably from the Spock-narrated TV show In Search Of – and given that I’ve been having an ongoing, post-apocalyptic dream for the past week, writing about the end of the world seemed relevant.
Among 2012ers, the debate rages over whether we’ll meet our collective maker thanks to a colliding comet or a super volcano or magnetic shifts that will make us vulnerable to solar radiation. I’m not going to pretend I understand the intricacies of the arguments for or against a given theory, but I do find our fascination with the “End of Days” fascinating.
From the violence of Armageddon to the bleakness of Ragnarok, almost every religion and culture has an End of Days. Even so-called rational, enlightened societies fall prey to end-of-the-world predictions. Fears of Y2K disaster had people stockpiling water and food just in case the mother of all computer crashes sent us spiraling back to 1900.
Of course, the true horror of an apocalypse isn’t that the world ends; it’s that you survive the end.
Fiction is rife with such horrific survival tales, from Stephen King’s The Stand to Will Smith’s latest movie, I Am Legend, about the last man on earth battle a horde of post-apocalyptic vampires. On a lighter note, Buffy always averted the regularly scheduled apocalypse, but it came close a few times.
I think our collective fascination with the apocalypse is that it raises the perennial “what if” questions we try our best ignore: What is a good life? What does it all mean? Is there life after death? If the world only has five years left, what should we do between now and then?
Let’s face it, there’s nothing like a coming apocalypse to make us re-evaluate the wisdom of the 60-hour workweek or sticking with the comfortable, but wrong person.
Now before we all get divorced and quit our jobs (talk about economic disaster and a self-fulfilling prophesy) remember that for all we know, the Mayan calendar-maker’s girlfriend distracted him and he just never got back to it.
It’s also possible that just because the Mayans believed their world would end, it doesn’t mean ours will. We can define worlds in a variety of ways. How many times have you heard someone say, “She is my world”?
Which leads me to an interesting tangent: A personal apocalypse.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Death is the ultimate personal apocalypse. But if the horror is surviving it, how does our own personal apocalypses (is that the plural?) play out? Will yours differ significantly from mine? Are these the fears that keep us awake at night or something totally unknowable until we’re walking through the rubble of our lives?
The idea of a personal apocalypse gives me, as an author, new ways to torment my characters. I torture them daily. But now I can tear their worlds apart every time I sit down to the computer between now and – at least until the end of time.
Keena Kincaid was born in Dayton, Ohio, and moved with her family to a farm slightly to the left of nowhere when she was four. She grew up with pigs, cows, brothers and a half-broke pony named Star. She learned to read by picking words out of an old history book that vividly recounted the past through short stories centered on children of the age: The Grecian slave boy. The girl from Pompeii. The knight’s squire in England.
The stories stayed with her. She studied history, English and philosophy in college, earning a bachelor’s degree in history at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. She studied medieval history in graduate school at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and still keeps up with academic research through the Medieval Academy of America.
After honing her writing skills as a newspaper reporter and editor, she switched to public relations and began writing fiction. Career honors include writing awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Gannett newspapers and the Associated Press.
She inherited the family’s nomadic gene and has lived in Ohio, Indiana, New York, Missouri and North Carolina, with short stops in even more places along the way. She currently lives in Illinois, but says that could change any day.
When not working or writing romance, Keena regales her niece and nephews with stories of quick-thinking ladies, mathematically challenged knights, and ill-mannered dragons that chew with their mouths open.