A 5 star review from Bookish Beyond!

Read the whole review on Bookish Beyond

Can you imagine a life without electricity, running water, or any of the things we have today because of them?

I find it hard to, although I have been wondering what that world would be like. Since reading The After Days, I’m beginning to get a clearer picture of just how much we’ve come to rely on such things.

This book follows two couples: Rachel and Zach, and Julie and Chris. The four friends soon band together when the power goes out across most of the world. Before long, people are looting, running water into their bathtubs before their supply runs out, and in some cases, even killing people in the name of survival.

The author’s style is crisp, using just the right amount of detail to set the scene. She emphasizes the serious nature of such an event as the power going out worldwide, showing us just how much we take everyday necessities for granted.

She created well rounded characters that held my attention and helped the story to progress at a steady rate. Speaking of which, let’s discuss the four main characters.

I rate it 5 stars. 

A contemporary read that will really make you think about the world we live in today and how it could change at any moment.

Guest post on KateVane.com: Amy Ginsburg, author of The After Days

Kate Vane July 11, 2019 Science fiction, Guest post

Kate Vane: For me, post-apocalyptic fiction asks us not just how we would survive, but what would happen to our sense of self when the world that gave us status and identity is swept away. So I’m  intrigued to hear from Amy Ginsburg about the transition from suburban comfort to chaos in her dystopian novel The After Days. 

I wrote The After Days because I was tired (oh so tired) of reading dystopian tales where the protagonist was an outcast teenager or a male with superhuman powers. Where were all the ordinary suburbanites, doing their best in impossible situations?

I love dystopian fiction of all kinds, but for too long, post-apocalyptic futures were viewed mostly though the eyes of teens and men. Only recently have books like Red Clocks, Vox, Station 11, and The Powerconsidered dystopia through the perspective of women. And when they did focus on women, it was the rare story that included middle-aged protagonists. Wanting the women I know and admire, the women so often left out of science fiction, to be the center of a dystopian story, I wrote The After Days so that we can inhabit the mind of Rachel Caplan, a fifty-four-year old nonprofit executive.

I was also disheartened by the propensity of most dystopian novels to start years or even decades after the precipitating event, whether that’s climate change, asteroids, epidemics, or puritanism. What happens the day of the event? The month after the event? How does a thriving, ordinary world degrade into dystopia? At what point does uncertainty become chaos and hardship become apocalypse? Who thrives and who gives up? What’s the proportion of luck and skill as the fates decide who survives?

As a “pantser,” someone who writes by the seat of her pants, following the characters where they take her, I was shocked by how quickly the suburbs – those traditional havens of safety and security – devolved into a dangerous arena. Much faster than I would have predicted, suburbia falls under the control of the ruthless and the armed.

At first, Rachel Caplan, Zach Wu, and their friends Julie and Christopher Davis believe the power outage is a temporary interruption to their lives, much like a blizzard. It’s a time for neighborhood barbecues, the tantalizing smell of meat sizzling on the grill before it spoils in their non-working freezers. It is a time of bonus vacation days and minor complaints about the inability to watch TV. But as time creeps forward and the electricity doesn’t return, they realize their community are forever changed. Are these four suburbanites able to adapt to survive until the power … hopefully … returns?

Spanning multiple genres – women’s fiction, science fiction, and dystopia – The After Days will spawn fascinating discussions at book clubs … and perhaps encourage readers to pick up an extra can of peaches the next time they go grocery shopping.

NATIVE PENS DYSTOPIAN NOVEL ABOUT…MONTGOMERY COUNTY

From Montgomery Community Media BY AMBIKA NARULA

Eight-year-old Amy Ginsburg fell passionately in love with writing after scribbling a story about her favorite stuffed animal in a spiral notebook.

Things have changed drastically since those spiral notebook days. Ginsburg has now independently published her first novel, “The After Days,” through Amazon. The book is available beginning today.

Born and raised in Montgomery County, she decided to set her story in the Pike District of North Bethesda.

“I was tired of reading dystopian novels that featured sullen teenage girls or men with super powers saving the world. … I grew up, raised my children, and now live within a mile or so of the Pike District, though it was called Rockville and North Bethesda back then. It’s a wonderful place full of wonderful people, and I knew instantly it was the perfect setting for ‘The After Days,’” Ginsburg told MCM.

Not only is Ginsburg a passionate novelist; she also works as the executive director of Friends of White Flint, a nonprofit composed of residents, businesses and property owners working to transform the Pike District and with Capacity Partners, helping nonprofits share what makes them great.

“The After Days” idea started three years ago with several different drafts, but Ginsburg never gave up on her dream. In the book, the characters deal with a lack of power, working together to survive.

“It may take many decades, but career dreams can come true … because the end result is absolutely worth all the hard work. Sharing my writing with friends and strangers was scary, but now that I’ve done it, those fears have disappeared. Also, I’ve worked my way around the novel learning curve with The After Days, so perhaps next time, there will be only 10 drafts, not 20,” Ginsburg said.

Ginsburg hopes to produce a sequel for “The After Days.”

“I genuinely love to write. Sometimes it almost feels god-like, since I get to decide who lives and who dies, who falls in love, who gets hurt, who survives, and the characters are real, living people to me,” Ginsburg said.

Montgomery County Native Pens Dystopian Novel about …Montgomery County

From Montgomery Community Media

Eight-year-old Amy Ginsburg fell passionately in love with writing after scribbling a story about her favorite stuffed animal in a spiral notebook.

Things have changed drastically since those spiral notebook days. Ginsburg has now independently published her first novel, “The After Days”, through Amazon. The book is available beginning today.

Born and raised in Montgomery County, she decided to set her story in the Pike District of North Bethesda.

“I was tired of reading dystopian novels that featured sullen teenage girls or men with super powers saving the world. … I grew up, raised my children, and now live within a mile or so of the Pike District, though it was called Rockville and North Bethesda back then. It’s a wonderful place full of wonderful people, and I knew instantly it was the perfect setting for ‘The After Days,’” Ginsburg told MCM.

Not only is Ginsburg a passionate novelist; she also works as the executive director of Friends of White Flint, a nonprofit composed of residents, businesses and property owners working to transform the Pike District and with Capacity Partners, helping nonprofits share what makes them great.

“The After Days” idea started three years ago with several different drafts, but Ginsburg never gave up on her dream. In the book, the characters deal with a lack of power, working together to survive.

“It may take many decades, but career dreams can come true … because the end result is absolutely worth all the hard work. Sharing my writing with friends and strangers was scary, but now that I’ve done it, those fears have disappeared. Also, I’ve worked my way around the novel learning curve with The After Days, so perhaps next time, there will be only 10 drafts, not 20,” Ginsburg said.

Ginsburg hopes to produce a sequel for “The After Days.”

“I genuinely love to write. Sometimes it almost feels god-like, since I get to decide who lives and who dies, who falls in love, who gets hurt, who survives, and the characters are real, living people to me,” Ginsburg said.

Marketing Mayhem

When I wrote the first rough paragraphs of The After Days three years ago, I knew nothing about book marketing. While ‘expert book marketer’ will not be going on my LinkedIn profile anytime soon, I have to admit I’m rather enjoying learning about marketing novels.

Amazon keywords, for example, are particularly fascinating. Amazon enables an author to choose seven keywords (which are actually keyphrases) for a book. These keywords enable readers to find your book on Amazon, so theoretically if I choose Women’s Dystopian Fiction as a keyword for The After Days, and a reader types that phrase in the search bar, The After Days will show up in the results.

The trick is to choose keywords that people actually use to search AND that are not so broad that your book lands on page 485 of the search results. All of us being the busy, lazy people that we are, unless a book is on that first page of results, no one will find let alone purchase that book. Women’s Dystopian Fiction is far too broad — The After Days would be listed on a page far, far away from any reader. But perhaps Older Woman Dystopian Fiction might work — it’s a term people type in the search bar but there aren’t too many book in that category.

It’s all kind of a crapshoot as one auditions different keywords, but with perseverance and a bit of luck, I’ll choose the right ones for The After Days. As much as I loved writing this novel, I’d kind of like some folks to find and read this compelling dystopian twist on book club fiction. (A phase that just might make a good keyword.)

The

Where are all the ordinary women in dystopian fiction?

I wrote The After Days because I was tired (oh so tired) of reading dystopian tales where the protagonist was a teenager or a male with superhuman powers. Where were all the ordinary suburbanites, doing their best in impossible situations? I wanted more books like The Handmaids Tale, Red Clocks, Vox, and Station 11.

In The After Days, middle-aged suburbanites Rachel Caplan and Zach Wu, as well as their friends Julie and Christopher Davis, battle not only the predators and scavengers but also despair, empty pantries, and sometimes each other as they struggle to survive an increasingly treacherous world without electricity.

The friends have post-graduate degrees and talents that bring success in normal Montgomery County, a suburb of Washington DC, but little knowledge that’s helpful in a dark Montgomery County quickly crashing into chaos.

The After Days explores the ethical quandaries and logistical issues of ordinary people striving to survive extraordinary circumstances. Turning to each other … and sometimes turning on each other … how far are they willing to go to survive?

I gave birth to a 78,000 word manuscript

Today I finished a week of giving my manuscript for The After Days a final edit before sending it to my editor for a final proofread. It feels like I’ve given birth to a beautiful baby manuscript, and now Mary Poppins will step in to lovingly care for my baby over the next few weeks.

There have been times when entire chapters flowed from my fingertips with ease and times when crafting one three-word sentence took a week. Now I’m eager to read my editor’s comments and changes so that The After Days can be the best I can make it. I’m a little surprised I miss the act of editing and polishing which has sucked up much of time over the past week, but it’s time to move forward.

How hard will it be to patiently wait the three weeks to receive the suggested edits? Harder than dieting during the season of holiday parties, harder than learning calculus, and harder than saying no to my charming 2 1/2 year old granddaughter.

It’s not the writing, it’s the editing

I’m now polishing version 8 of The After Days. Over the past three years, I’ve added and deleted characters. I’ve changed their names and altered their personalities. Feeling like a god, I’ve decided who will live and who will die, then after a few days, killed the living and resurrected the dead.

Sometimes the most inconsequential thoughts as I daydream in a dull meeting leads to major changes in the plot. Sometimes I endlessly debate about whether to use the word ‘leather’ or ‘calfskin’ in a description of a character’s boots. (I chose calfskin.)

I’ve had to confirm goosebumps is one word and re-remember the difference between lie and lay. I’ve purged hundreds of adverbs and inserted dozens of commas.

Editing, I’ve come to realize, is how you take 78,000 perfectly serviceable words and turn them into a compelling novel. It’s not the writing, it’s the editing that makes characters and setting feel real. Editing is what makes a reader stay up past her bedtime to finish a chapter. Like a freshly-mined gem becomes a beautiful diamond, editing creates a beautiful book.

Welcome to Amy Ginsburg’s author site

Three years ago, as the idea to write The After Days percolated in my brain, it never would have occured to me that I would be creating my own author website. Heck, three years ago, I wasn’t even sure I’d get past chapter one.

But get past it I did. Very far past it. I’m now polishing my final version (version eight, for those keeping track) and am looking forward to sharing it with the world.

Join me on this journey into the world of self-publishing. I’ll blog about the writing and publishing process, topics that interest me and I hope interest you, and of course, The After Days.

Amy