Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jan Dyer--Yellow Zone


1: What convinced you to write about this issue?
As far back as we can remember, disasters have been with us. The recent floods of eastern Australia were jokingly compared to Noah’s great flood. It was referred to by one politician as a flood of ‘Biblical proportions’. Disasters, whether they are naturally occurring or induced through war and poverty, have always been a part of our human condition. However, the question posed in today‘s society is whether disasters are increasing worldwide or are they being reported and documented more regularly since the advent of internet and satellite technologies. I take the view that disasters and the ferocity of them are an increasing phenomenon. Most scientists agree with this view, although they may differ from each other as to why they occur. With the world’s population quadrupling within one century, more lives are lost and more people are affected: Homes, businesses and infrastructure are destroyed while agriculture and natural resources experience severe setback and economic loss.
What convinced me to write about it? Since there is so much doom and gloom on the subject, I preferred, like many others, to take the positive viewpoint by seeing it from a Biblical perspective. Bible prophecy not only forewarns us of near future events and impending disasters, it provides us with a cause and reason for them. Most of all, it offers God’s help to a world in trouble; the Way to prevail and move forward through the midst of tragedy.

2: Tell us a bit about the story.
Without giving too much of the plot away; terrorist cells attack and destroy a large proportion of our civilised world and cripple the global economy. Political systems fall as the financial sector crumbles. The whole world is perplexed as one leader rises to world dominance. No longer is there a democracy or a voice for the common people.
A young man, Scott Ryan, and his teenage sister Sally are forced to live in Yellow Zone, a gated community set up to protect and shelter a large population. In time, Yellow Zone draws fear and cynicism from its people. Deadly secrets are uncovered and it is a race against time for survival.

3: What do you say to people who are experiencing devastation right now such as you depicted in the aftermath of a terrorist attack – whether from war or natural disaster, such as our recent Australian floods?
In general, I think when disaster hits a nation such as the recent floods imposed on our beloved country, people re-evaluate their priorities. Possessions are nice to have but human beings and relationships become a focus and are suddenly realised as more precious than things. Perhaps experiencing such enormity of devastation and loss as the floods brought, we either band together and share the grief and loss or we retreat into ourselves and attempt to ignore the pain and despair around us. Disaster and tragedy visits families all the time, but because it’s confined within small groups or happening on the other side of the planet, we can feel detached from it or insensitive. ‘Life goes on’, as the saying goes but tragedy picks on lives impartially and life deals with people unfairly. Eventually misfortune to varying degrees happens to us all.
What to do in the event of a disaster or crisis? Do we put our heads in the sand or do we become pro-active? It was so encouraging for me to see the thousands of people (many facing their own personal loss), going out and helping others in similar or direr circumstances. I felt in awe of these people. They were being the hands, feet and resources of God – the divine touch to a very human need. Another popular saying that encourages me is, ‘When God closes a door, He opens another.’ In the face of hardship, despair and uncertainty, God is the only constant One we can rely on. He comforts us by bringing resources and caring people across our paths to help us. He also opens other doors to new and deepening relationships.

4: Can you recommend other books on the subject that have inspired you?
Of course the first books that come to mind straight away are the Left Behind fiction series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins. These depict a world in chaos just prior to Christ’s return to earth to judge the nations.
Some other nonfiction books I recommend on this subject are: Storm Warning by Billy Graham; The Merciful God of Prophecy by Tim LaHaye, and Epicenter by Joel C Rosenberg. Unfortunately I’m not aware of many Aussie books on this subject. The great late Kiwi, Barry Smith had many books covering end-time prophecy which are worth looking at.
For personal grief: Bereavement, A Shared Experience by Helen Alexander and The Darkness and the Dawn by Charles Swindoll which covers Christ’s very personal suffering.

5: Tell us something about your writing journey and publication. That itself is an interesting story.

My journey as a writer began at an early age, as do so many others. My first real work (not published), was QT, The Quarter Ton Elephant who broke loose from his handler and created havoc down Queen Street, Brisbane. At ten, I was pen pal to an Indian missionary working in the Punjab District. I hope I was an encouragement to her as she selflessly worked with those precious people. I certainly was encouraged by her. That’s the marvellous thing about writing; no matter what our age or disability we can encourage, sympathise and comfort, teach and mentor people through the written word.
My first (self) published book was a collection of my plays and skits called, An Australian Christian Play, An Endangered Species. Like many first time published authors, I look back thirty years and understand why it wasn’t a top seller. And there’s still so much room for improvement.
Yellow Zone is my first publication through a royalty-based publishing house. Rochelle Manners of Wombat Books and EvenBeforePublishing has the difficult task of getting Aussie and Kiwi books out there to the general public and she works tirelessly for writers and readers alike.

6: What avenues have you explored in marketing the book?
No different to anyone else, I’ve taken part in radio interviews e.g. on 4GR, Voice 92.9 FM, Redlands FM and CVC Sunshine Coast. I had a book launch at my local church, Humeridge Church of Christ and book signings at Koorong. I’ve set up my own website (which needs updating), had interviews in the Chronicle newspaper and Gatton Star and co-manned our publisher’s bookstall at Easterfest in Toowoomba. I’ve had book reviews and my book was a focus in book clubs. I’ve entered writing competitions and have done workshops at Brisbane’s Word Writers’ Fair. Apart from these successful marketing forays I’ve written to many newspapers, contacted numerous radio stations and participated in mail outs to schools and bookstores. Marketing is not one of my strengths but certainly it is a necessary job. It is good to be part of a writers’ group which shares successes and failures, common to us all.

7: Where can we buy the book?
Probably the best place to go is online to my publisher ; my website, or . Teacher’s notes are available through the publisher and right now the old edition cover of ‘Yellow Zone’ is at the special price of $6.50 plus shipping and handling. Recommended retail price for new edition cover is $19.95. Thanks Wendy for giving me this opportunity to blog on your site and to offer a free book to one of your readers.

It was great to have you, Jan.