Author Feature Jon Messenger


Jon’s First Story

PFD Chapter: Four
Main Characters: Retired couple headed for the safe zone on Staten Island


Teaser from HAZMAT

“Those suits,” the man said feverishly. “They can keep me safe, stop me from getting sicker.”

Terry shook his head. “You’re already infected. The suit won’t do anything for you now.”

“You can’t just leave me here,” the man sobbed quietly, doubling over where he stood.

“I’m really sorry,” Terry said, turning away and walking briskly to catch up to Lilly.

“You can’t leave me here!” the man yelled as he ran toward them with a surprising burst of speed.


Jon’s Second Story

PFD Story TitleCDC
PFD Chapter: Ten
Main Character: Cassandra, a CDC investigator visiting New York to examine evidence surrounding the NYC outbreak


Teaser from CDC

She withdrew her hand and noticed a metallic blue clinging to her glove. “Paint transfer.” She glanced up at him. “Definitely not from the armored truck.”

“Could it have been from the barrels he hit?” he offered.

Cassie held up her fingers so he could see the blue paint. “Someone rammed him into that wall.”

Chuck whistled softly. “I know a lot of people who aren’t going to like this report.”



Tell us one thing people don’t know about you or might be surprised to find out? 

As much as I love writing, it’s still not my day job.  I’ve been an US Army medical officer for the past 13 years, to include two combat deployments during that time.  My experiences in the Army lend themselves to the realism and grittiness that I often include in my writing.

How did you prepare for writing your PFD story? Any particular research or personal experience? 

Shortly before the idea for PFD was announced, I was assigned as the medical officer in charge of an Ebola monitoring facility.  For Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors returning from West Africa, they had to go through a 21-day monitoring to ensure they hadn’t contracted the disease.  Part of my training involved deep research into Ebola – filoviruses in general – and their signs and symptoms.  Since the virus in PFD mirrored many of the Ebola symptoms, it added a touch of realism to my stories.

What was it like working with the other authors to create such an integrated anthology? 

I can say with all sincerity that I’ve never worked on a project like this before.  Working closely with other authors to tie our stories together was amazing.  It wasn’t provoked by the creators like you’d imagine; the authors were excited enough on their own to find ways to tie all the stories together.  It was incredible and was definitely a unique project.  Because of how amazing the anthology became, I expect to see other anthologies borrowing this concept in the future.

What do you think would be the scariest kind of apocalypse? 

The scariest for me, hands down, is a zombie apocalypse.  Nearly everything else is an annihilation-level event, where the majority of the world’s population is eliminated in a short period of time.  The truth is, I could live comfortably on my own, even if I was the only living person for hundreds of miles in each direction.  Zombies frighten me because every person that dies becomes another enemy.  It’s not that you have to survive the apocalypse; you have to mourn the loss of your friends once when they die and then again when you have to put a bullet in their zombie brain.

Tell us a little about your Prep For Doom characters and stories.

I had the incredible honor of writing not just one but two short stories for the anthology.  Because of my medical background, I helped design the virus (you can blame me later for any perceived medical errors). That lead to a request for me to write CDC, where some of the backstory is revealed.  In CDC, Cassie – a CDC field investigator – assists the NYC CDC team in finding the source of the outbreak.  Cassie is an incredibly resilient woman, focused so completely on her job that she’s mostly unfazed by the wanton death and destruction around her.

HAZMAT was the exact opposite story.  Where CDC was about Cassie’s yearning for the truth, HAZMAT’s Terry and Lilly is a story about an older retired couple just trying to survive.  They’re not brave or confident; they’re what I would assume most people would be during a real apocalypse: scared.  They’re searching for a safety and sanity in what is quickly becoming an insane world.  They’ve heard that Staten Island is safe… all they have to do is get there.