Real life proving "uncannily close" to fiction for Arundel pandemic book author

Arundel author Simon Gray is giving away his latest book for free – one chapter at a time.

Monday, 15th June 2020, 8:33 am
The author
The author

Set in a global pandemic, Isolation shines a light on human strengths and failings when tested to the extreme by an invisible enemy, Simon explains.

The story of a reluctant hero, forced to question what we will do to protect our family in a pandemic, sounds familiar; too familiar, almost ripped from the headlines, Simon says. Yet he started writing Isolation, his sixth novel, a year ago.

“Little did I know how topical it would become,” says Simon. “It is uncanny how close my fiction is to real life at the moment. But then it doesn’t take a genius to imagine what could happen to the world in a pandemic!”

As for his decision to give away his book, Simon explains, “We are suffering enough at the moment, without having to pay to read about it.

“And, rather than wait for this story to go through the often-lengthy publishing process, I thought I’d get it out there immediately via my blog – for free (simonmgray.com).

“In Isolation, a ragtag community are protecting themselves from a global pandemic on a Caribbean island. As supplies run short, Mike Huntley and his family are forced to venture back out into a changed world. What would you do in their shoes?”

“Isolation is a sequel to Ready To Serve which was published in 2018. Within Ready To Serve I had already introduced a sub-plot involving the mutation of Ebola into an airborne virus, which I called Airbola. Although this did not have a significant part to play in the plot for Ready To Serve, it was there to become centre stage in Isolation.

“At the time of the Ebola outbreak, I found it fascinating how complacent we were in the West over the threat of the disease. It was in Africa, a continent away and could only be transmitted by bodily fluids, so relatively easy to contain and therefore not much of a concern. And that has seemed to be Western Government’s approach to most of these incredibly dangerous diseases coming from China and Saudi Arabia.

“What would happen if Ebola mutated to become airborne with a mortality rate over 30 per cent? Well, Coronavirus is below three per cent and we are witnessing what that can do.

“However, I didn’t want to get into the science and scare people with horrifying details. Instead, Isolation is about the central characters from Ready To Serve living out the pandemic on a small Caribbean Island together with another 2,000 souls. Their news is limited and censored by the regime that runs the island, so they know very little about what is happening and for the most part, they are happy with their isolation until they start to run out of supplies and need to break the lockdown.

“Isolation starts after two years three months three weeks and four days since the pandemic swept the world. Mike Huntley happens to be a recently qualified pilot and the island’s sentinel against any unwanted visitors. He witnesses a plane crash and the island sets about making sure there are no survivors.

“The harsh regime they have been living under has saved them from contamination. Any news that can still be received is heavily censored. Oonly headlines detailing the unimaginable devastation are drip fed to the community to keep them compliant to the strict lockdown regime. There is no vaccine as far as they know.”

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