Why Doesn’t This Coastline Look The Same?

Try counting the submerged states—22—Thanks, Jurbay.

This artist’s rendering of the New Coastline in the post-apocalyptic, sci-fi survival thriller, Roll Call Trilogy, maps out Avery DeTornada’s new world and why her father and mother—Carles and Quinn DeTornada –bravely named what they believed would become a world of justice—The 28 United.

When we as readers choose a genre to read—enjoy—fall in love with—we jump in with both feet. So it is with the post-apocalyptic, sci-fi survival genre. (Map Design: Denise Mahoney. Map Edits: Sherri M. Miller.) I spent considerable time with a map of the 50 states on my desk, designing endless combinations of which of the 22 states would be severed and sink into the Pacific. Knowing my readers would never see a mention of a state name–I needed to know for my own peace of mind, so that my references made sense. For example, when looking at the map you can see that Lake Michigan is gone as is Lake Superior and part of Lake Huron. Names were changed–Lake Erie became the Waters of Erie–Lake Ontario became the Waters of Ontario–to reflect the Roll Call World. Deciding which states remained gave me the freedom to research the settings further and continue the creation of my new world.

Let’s take my idea of placing the headquarters of The 28 United inside a defunct zoo in Book #2, Inside The Third. That’s when the fun began! Researching zoos in Ohio, which was a state that “hung on” after Jurbay, brought all sorts of catalysts to contribute to both the setting and plot. Pictures of several zoos and their layouts began to point to the beloved character of “Gizzie” the gazelle that preferred “pet-hood” with The 28 United, instead of fleeing with the rest of the animals when the zoo became defunct, due to infrastructure decline of The Third’s world.

The settings of all the Roll Call Trilogy books became characters themselves. The window without panes in Pasha’s housing allotment at the zoo became a metaphor for the ins and outs of Pasha’s arrogant plan to infiltrate The Third and the chaos in her mind. The broken and open window space allowed Morris and Annalynn to climb in and out with humor and tension until Pasha’s final decision to abandon her post and sneak Inside The Third.

As a writer, I love how a small thought–let’s use a zoo for a headquarters–Colony G–can become a Whisperer and draw my creative spirit through the zoo and on to the Healing Caves (also in Inside The Third) where the enormous painting on the ceiling of the caves depicted Avery and Gizzie, demonstrating to the broken Avery what peace might look like to her.

Creating the new world–the Roll Call World–was an adventure that changed my life forever and convinced me that everything is possible.

Join me on my next post as I explore the importance of the child’s voice in the Roll Call Trilogy, and how I learned how to hear the children speak.

About Gwen Mansfield

Gwen Mansfield loves words, and the thought of a good story sends ideas capering through her mind until they sift into characters, settings, and plots. Roll Call, Book #2 in the Roll Call Trilogy debuted as Gwen’s first post-apocalyptic, sci-fi survival thriller, and the surprises she found on the pages made it impossible to say goodbye to Avery DeTornada and her comrades. So—Welcome Book #2, Inside The Third and Book #3, Reluctant Warriors. Characters drive the creative process of Gwen’ writing. She says, “I can’t escape the quirky characters who romp through the pages of my stories—I guess ‘cause I’ve had so many of them in my own life. Almost every week I discover someone whose idiosyncrasies are a trigger to a character in a still-to-be-written story. And then, there are those people who wander through my life on a regular basis. Through the eyes of others, they may seem quite ordinary, but the influence they’ve had on my life is extraordinary. They too are the catalysts my books are made of. My kids always say, ‘If you stick around long enough, you’ll end up as a character in one of my mom’s books.’” Author of the Roll Call Trilogy, the novel Experiment Station Road, the stage play Grace Diner, and the musical Resistance! (based on the book Tales of the Resistance by David and Karen Mains)—Gwen Mansfield continues to bring the creation of new worlds to her latest release, Reluctant Warriors, Book #3. Gwen is an early recipient of the New Harmony Project, finalist in Reverie Productions’ Next Generation of Playwriting Contest, and a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Historical Fiction. She holds a BA in Theatre from Seattle Pacific University, an MA in Theatre Production from Central Washington University, and an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction from University of New Orleans. She lives in the forests of Washington with her family. “Maybe it’s only in my dreams that I’ve descended into post-apocalyptic danger, run from dystopian challengers, chased threatening asteroids, and climbed into a romantic relationship with my soulmate—but for my readers—I launch it on the page!”—Gwen Mansfield View all posts by Gwen Mansfield

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