Author Interview: Randy Lindsay
Shirley: Hey, where are the cheese puffs? I thought this was a grocery store, but there’s hardly anything on the shelves. Stores always have groceries. What are we supposed to eat if they don't?
Randy: I wondered pretty much the same thing, and that’s what motivated me to write “The Gathering.” Your average person doesn’t realize that grocery stores only carry about a 48 hour supply of food. If there is any sort of hiccup in the system, we could all find ourselves staring at empty shelves and asking where the cheese puffs went.
Shirley: Well, if there are no cheese puffs, we'll have to adapt to survive. Hey, look, there are some bags of jalapeno potato chips left. Do you like jalapeno chips? Hurry and decide! There are some other people coming down the aisle the other way, and they look armed and dangerous!
Randy: That’s how it works. All it takes is a shortage of a few items to start a run on the stores. Someone takes that last bag of delectable cheese puffs and then people overreact, loading up their cart with items they think might be running short.
Shirley: Well, if you won't overreact, then I will! All right! Way to use your Ninja moves to grab the last two bags! You’ve got some great survival skills. I suppose I could choke some of those down if we have ice cream on the side. Let’s go to the freezer section. Hey, what’s with that line of people? What are they lined up for? The meat counter? Who’s that guy in uniform? The hot dog police?
Randy: In The Gathering, the guy in uniform is Robert Williams. Robert is the main character in the story and has just recently returned from his mission. When he can’t find the same kind of work that he did before his mission, he takes a job as a security guard, and that opens his eyes to what is happening in the community around him.
Shirley: Rationing hot dogs. Really. One of my sons ate a whole package of hot dogs by himself after school a couple of times. Maybe he’ll have to chow down on jalapeño chips now. Are they rationing ketchup and mustard, too, I wonder?
Randy: Maybe you can live without cheese puffs, ketchup, and mustard, but what happens when they start rationing a food item that’s important to your family? Then it becomes personal. It might even make you worry that in the near-future there might not be any food at all.
Shirley: Like this freezer section! Totally empty except for frozen okra! Is that even edible? It sounds like a Pokemon character. I know that Houston was attacked, but I didn't know that most of our groceries came from Houston. Do you have your food storage saved up?
Randy: The supply and delivery system in the
States is pretty stable. A terrorist attack
in Houston is
probably not going to cause a run on the grocery stores across the country. But
you combine that with a heavy winter storm that hits the mid-west and maybe
even a trucking strike and then you have situation that promotes unreasoning
panic. Having even a month’s supply of food storage could prevent a family from
suffering in that situation.
Shirley: All I have is a few cans of oatmeal, tuna, sprouting beans, and chocolate Ovaltine. Grain, vegetables, protein, and chocolate. I’m all set.
Randy: Yummy. Oatmeal for breakfast, a small plate of bean sprouts for lunch, tuna for dinner, and a glass of chocolaty Ovaltine to finish it off. What more could a person hope for in their diet? The average American is lucky to have enough food in the kitchen to last them the weekend. Having even a partial food supply at home can lighten the impact of a disaster. If you have canned meats at home you might be able to trade your ration of hamburger, at the grocery store, for something that you need.
Shirley: Okay, I might trade hamburger, but no one's getting my chocolate. I’ve heard that
up in the mountains has food. Maybe we could get some ice cream there. I hope it's not the freeze-dried kind. It's sweet, but it lacks something... I don't know... something ice-creamy. Camp Valiant
Randy: Eventually. I can’t imagine any self-sufficient and “civilized” community not having ice cream.
Shirley: You have a lot of answers. How did you even think of writing a story about missionaries with an early honorable release, grocery stores running empty, robbers stealing food from cars, mobs, anarchy, political intrigue, bomb threats, a self-sufficient mountain camp, prejudice, and redemption?
Randy: I happened to be reading some of the prophecies about the Second Coming and felt compelled to write a story about it. I wanted people to realize that even though the situation will be difficult for all of us, that there is still hope. Those who follow the counsel of the Prophet will have less to fear from the upcoming events. I thought that by writing a fictional account of the apocalypse, my readers might gain strength from it during their own trials.
Shirley: Sounds like a good line of thinking, but thinking about food shortages makes me hungry. Let’s go through the checkout line so we can eat our chips. Then you can tell me if you’re planning on writing more futuristic survival stories.
Randy: Absolutely. The Gathering is the first of five books that I have planned about the upcoming apocalypse. And since I mostly write speculative fiction and love stories about the end of the world, you can expect to see plenty more of the same thereafter.
Shirley: Oh. I'm scared to read about what else might happen, but interested, too. Yowza! These chips are spicy! Let’s go back inside and get a drink. Oh, never mind, there’s a water fountain that hasn't been bombed. I’d rather drink there than go back in with the scavengers. By the way, where can someone scavenge up a copy of your story, “The Gathering: End’s Beginning?”
Randy: Cedar Fort is publishing it. They have it available at their website as well as in Deseret Books and Costco stores. You can also get it on Amazon.com. If you live in the greater Phoenix/Mesa area you are welcome to see me at one of my book signings. Hop on over to my website for a complete listing.
Shirley: Should we be worried about the things your book implies are coming at us?
Randy: That depends. If you’re following the counsel of the Prophet then probably not. The trials and events that await us are intended to humble the people and turn their hearts towards God. There will be less impact on those who are already at that point.
Shirley: Okay, for now I’ll just worry about having jalapeno breath. Oh, and getting a copy of your next book before it’s blasted off the shelves into avid readers’ hands!