PFD Story Title: The Gift
PFD Chapter: Prologue
Main Character: Dede Afi John, an African girl in the earliest known outbreak of AVHF
Dede wanted to refuse and spit in his face. She wished she had been one of the girls who had jumped out the window and ran. A classmate behind her started crying. Two men moved through the crowd. Within seconds they reached the howling girl, throwing her onto the floor, forcing her mouth shut. Harsh hands wound thick tape around the girl’s bleeding lips. Then the two men hauled the bound girl upright like prey ready to be gutted. Dede had a choice to make.
How did you prepare for writing your PFD story? Any particular research or personal experience?
I spent three days researching the Akan people of Ghana, Africa and the people of Nigeria. Really looking at the culture, the exports, the western and eastern influences. Learning about name meanings, rites of passage, significant sayings, and the meanings of color within a totally different world than my own. It was an incredible glimpse into an entirely different world view. I hope I did the complex world there justice.
What was it like working with the other authors to create such an integrated anthology?
Meeting so many wonderful, giving, and kind authors and fans. Seriously, Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans offers such support and enthusiasm for writers to explore the earth turned upside down in a million possible ways. There is goodness in the world, even in the darkest of times, there is always hope and friendship.
Have you ever experienced a major disaster that made you think about end of the world scenarios?
The alarm blared at 3 a.m., waking the whole town of Crescent City, CA. I stumbled out of bed, my husband snatched up the baby and I woke the other children. We grabbed our important papers, some water, snacks, and the diaper bag. There wasn’t much time before the tsunami hit our coast. We had to get to high ground which was a half a mile behind us. There was already a line of cars, snaking up into the redwood forest. We made it up the ridge to safety. That was incredibly hard, watching the wave of ocean coming from Japan’s earthquake, not sure if our home would be standing when everything was over. I spent a lot of time in the dark, parked in my van with everything precious in the world right there with me. I realized I could let the house, the money, all of it go as long as our family was safe. I think of the end of the world scenarios in much the same way – what would we do to save our families? What price is too high?
Tell us one thing people don’t know about you or might be surprised to find out?
I was born with a congenital cataract in my right eye. My parents raised me to do anything, to trust my body, and to accomplish what I put my mind to. As I have grown older, I have realized that I am flawed and broken, just by being human. We all are in some way. It is my belief that we are only unbroken when we stand together, when our weaknesses are cancelled out by the strength of our friends and family. Together, we have the power to change the world. Humans are fragile, weak, and wild creatures but we persevere. It’s what we do. That simple truth affects everything I write.