Series: The Unraveling
Author: Kevin Craver
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 22nd January 2024
In an instant, it was all gone.The survivors called it the Unraveling—a merciless one-two punch of economic collapse and deadly plague that brought the United States, and the world, to its knees.For history teacher and Army veteran Eric Jaeger, the collapse of the nation he once swore to defend is only the beginning.As civilization crumbles around them, Eric and tough-as-nails paramedic Susan Walker flee the Milwaukee suburbs for the safety of the Montana home of his Army buddy, Manny Landeros. They join an eclectic group of friends forced to adapt to survive in a violent and lawless post-apocalyptic world in which kindness and decency end at Manny’s property line.Eric’s hopes of staying hidden to weather the catastrophe are dashed when a wealthy despot seizes power in the nearby state capital and hatches a horrific plan with the remnants of a federal government desperate to regain control at any cost. When the enigmatic leader of a growing resistance movement asks Manny’s group to join the fight, they must decide whether to risk everything to defeat a tyrant—and in Eric’s case, risk sacrificing Susan on freedom’s altar.
If you had to describe Big Sky Fallen in less than 20 words to a prospective reader, what would you say?
It's a post-apocalyptic adventure and a fight to restore liberty and civilization that's set in the scenic Montana Rockies.
How did you come up with the cover of Big Sky Fallen? Who designed the cover?
Many fiction genres have well-known tropes when it comes to their covers - for example, if you think of a romance novel, a very stereotypical cover pops into your head of a woman with flowing hair in the arms of a muscular man. When it comes to post-apocalyptic fiction, the tried-and-true trope is a person, or people, staring off into the distance at either ruin or an uncertain future. It's very important as an author to know your cover trope and stay faithful to it—you need a prospective reader who likes your genre to know what your book is about at a glance. From there, I decided to have two of the main characters on the cover staring off into rocky mountains, given that my novel is set in Montana.
The cover was designed by graphic artist Christian Bentulan, who has done covers for many post-apocalyptic authors. You can find his work at www.coversbychristian.com—he's a pleasure to work with, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is writing an indie novel.
Did you do a lot of research for Big Sky Fallen? Or did you mostly use your own experience from the National Guard & Prepping?
Both. I'm a stickler for accuracy—in my novels, if I say there's an Arco gas station at the corner of First and Main streets in some tiny little town, that's because, at the time of the writing, it was there. While a lot of the knowledge of prepping and military weaponry and tactics came from my own life experiences and training, I still fact-checked them.
When it comes to what would happen in a societal collapse, I drew from everything I've read and watched from a lifetime of fascination with the subject. That includes stuff from your side of the Atlantic—I was probably the only American child who had read "Protect and Survive" and knew what the four-minute warning was.
Are any of the characters in Big Sky Fallen based on yourself or people you know?
No—I prefer to let my imagination run free and come up with my own characters and villains. I'd never base a fictional character off of myself—besides being extremely tacky, anyone who would pay their hard-earned money to read a story about me is in serious need of professional help.
If you had to choose to be a character from Big Sky Fallen, who would you be and why?
Eric—he's a simple guy who works hard to get through life, leads by example, rises to the challenge, and gets the girl in the end.
Who is your favourite character from Big Sky Fallen and why?
I'd have to say Animal, the retired Special Forces officer. I probably made him a little too larger than life—he doesn't act like any of the special operators I've met in my travels—but hot damn, was he fun to write.
Do you think you could have lived, survived in the way those in the book did?
That's a tough one. If I had a support group like they did, yes. Alone, no chance in hell—you don't survive a long-term collapse as a lone wolf.
Were you tempted to make Big Sky Fallen a series?
If you mean stretch this particular story into multiple books, then no; I wanted my debut novel to be wrapped up in one book. But for people who really like Big Sky Fallen's characters, you will see them again. That's a promise.
Looking back now, is there anything you would change within Big Sky Fallen?
Ask me again in a few years when I have two or three more novels under my belt and I can look back at my first work and laugh.
Is there a certain Author/Authors that influenced you in your writing?
A partial list would include Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton, who made technical details an integral part of their stories, as well as James Wesley Rawles and his fiction and nonfiction prepping books. And while I wouldn't call Emily St. John Mandel a post-apocalyptic author, her books serve as a reminder to me to add compassion and soul to my characters. I also would be remiss if my list didn't include William Forstchen (the author of the One Second After series) and Robert Heinlein, both of whom are mentioned in my book.
What can we expect from you next and in the future?
Big Sky Fallen is the first book in my Unraveling series, and a sequel will drop next summer. The second book is set in the Pacific Northwest with a new set of characters, save for two from Big Sky Fallen who cross over. While Montana was spared the worst of the pandemic because of its remote location, readers will see the H7N9 pandemic in the sequel hit the West Coast, and hit hard.
Where can your readers follow you?
They can follow me on Facebook (@AuthorKevinCraver), Instagram (@kevinpcraver) and Goodreads (@kevincraver). They can also visit my website, www.kevincraver.com, and sign up for my mailing list.