End Plan Backstory – Part 2

In our last episode, we’d just boarded the ferry from North Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques, NL. To jog your memory, this is a seven-hour trip, which we elected to do overnight. Although the ferry is remarkably well appointed and comfortable, I elected to sleep on the floor in front of our seats. Hey, everyone else was doing it, so I just stretched out in a small nest of clothing. It was pretty painless for me. Mary, of course, had a worse time of it since she not only had to watch over a badly injured man, but the car deck was full of rowdy (and possibly infected) people who were desperately trying to make it to the upper levels.

Our arrival was uneventful (we weren’t met by soldiers), and we disembarked in an orderly fashion. The logistics still amaze me. A quick stop at Tim Horton’s, a little touring around the town itself, and we were once again on the road.

Speaking of roads.

I’m pretty sure the ones we took and taken some shelling. Or maybe not, since the center lines were painted right through enormous potholes. Whichever, they were clearly post-apocalyptic, and in fact, a picture of the road was the first cover that Wendy put together.

Little else in this epic trip landed up in the novel (except for my meeting the Man in Corner Brook). We did make it to L’Anse aux Meadows (fantastic: go there) and Labrador itself (another ferry, which strangely makes the trip there a weird curve from mainland to mainland), but aside from some place names, I was otherwise occupied in (a) enjoying myself and (b) putting words to paper, as it were.

Oh, and I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but just in case I didn’t: the beach from the beginning of the book is a pretty accurate description of the beach in Labrador near our camp site.

Anyway, to finish the epic trip part, we took the same route back as we did to get there, and spent the last night of the multi-day return drive in Quebec City, where I came close to crying with joy at the prospect of fresh, non-deep-fried food. I love Quebec City. I also finished chapter one (or what I thought of as a short story) that night.

Safely back at home, I distributed End Plan Chapter 1 (AKA my short story) to a fairly large number of people. I’m not an egotist (although I’d like to be, it never works out), but I received overwhelming interest and a suggestion to turn it into a novel. Throwing caution to the wind, I started on this path. A novel is a lot harder to write than a short story, and I often wondered if I’d bitten off more than I could chew. As it turns out, I didn’t, but it sure felt that way over the two years of research, sporadic writing and generally fussing.

I was fortunate to have a number of domain experts (listed in the novel’s credits) who spent a lot of time helping me make sure the book was believable. I think they did well, and any errors are, of course, mine.

The other fascinating road-trip addition to End Plan was Wendy and my trip to North Bay. Specifically, CFB (Canadian Forces Base) North Bay, and even more specifically, the Museum of Aerospace Defense located on the base. My desire to make use of the Hole (a cold war bunker) in the novel had already made it into my plans, and I was hoping to be able to go down it.

No such luck. The Hole, as it was explained to me, was off limits due to its state of maintenance. To dangerous, in other words. Imagine the sad expression on my face when I was told this. A very helpful Master Corporal, however, once he found I was writing a novel, took the time to play with ideas with me, and we ended up (in the novel) with the Forces personnel doing what I guess you’d call an emergency migration from the topside buildings down the Hole itself. I think this works. I also think, as does everyone else I talk to, that it seems kind of ridiculous to have an asset like the Hole basically offline and unavailable in this day and age. If television has taught us anything, it’s that the Zombie Apocalypse (or any number of other disasters) could happen at any time, and bunkers are awesome.

I think this covers most of the backstory that I wanted to cover. For those who’re following this, I’m around 5000 words into the sequel, and I’m hoping that my existing friends (and maybe some new ones) will help me provide as realistic scenario as they did before.

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