Young author pens post-apocalyptic novel
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Mon., Mar. 18, 2013
Brendan Perry didn’t set out to write a novel. But back in 2008, when he was still a student at Griswold High School, he found himself engrossed in the presidential election and following the unfolding political news reports. “I sat down one morning, pulled up a TV tray to my seat and just got going,” he said. “I don’t even know where it came from. All of a sudden I had a novel.”
Now his book, “Archer,” marks his debut as an author. Perry, currently a sophomore at Norwich University in Vermont, completed the book during his freshman year at the private military college, despite a rigorous academic schedule. “I seem to get my best work done at 3 in the morning,” he quipped.
Perry’s story, set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, centers around a 17-year-old protagonist who is forced to arm himself to survive the onslaught of a repressive government. He stumbles into a group of like-minded freedom fighters, and in coming of age, experiences mortal combat, complex relationships and even a romance.
While some readers have concluded that the main character must be Perry himself, he denied the claim. He will, however, concede that the book is “written from a young adult’s perspective at 17 years old.” But he said the book’s target audience includes adults as well. “It’s the first book I’ve seen my dad finish since I can remember,” he said.
The disaster which sets the stage for the novel’s nightmarish setting is kept deliberately vague, Perry said. In his mind, “it’s some kind of natural disaster or man-made event that has caused the government to declare martial law everywhere,” he said. “But there are pockets of people left in the cities that didn’t want to quit [fighting]. I really didn’t specify what happened to try to keep readers in the dark.”
The narrative graphically depicts gun battles between the rebels and the government forces, and Perry takes pains with his descriptions of weaponry, although he admits to having discovered a few technical errors since the book went to print. He also makes allusions that could be read as a thinly-veiled portrayal of the present administration. Even so, he said, “I’m not trying to force any political opinion on anyone. I’m leaving the reader to make their own decision. If you believe in this country and have an open mind, you’ll like this book.”
Perry, who is majoring in studies of war and peace with a minor in English, said he has been writing for pleasure since eighth grade. As a GHS senior, he was a semi-finalist for the Connecticut Young Writers Award. He cited Edgar Alan Poe and Cormac McCarthy as strong influences on his work, and credited English teacher Nadine Keane with encouraging him in the creative writing process. “All those ideas she was trying to get me to refine, I took hold of them tight as I could and ran with them,” he said. He learned from her “you shouldn’t have to hold anything back.”
The novel is printed by Publish America, which assisted Perry in securing the copyright, designing the cover and marketing the finished book. His mom, Dee Galimore Perry, did the editing and the book was printed exactly as submitted. “For a self-published teenager’s post-apocalyptic novel, it seems to be selling respectably,” he said. “I already have six pages of my next one.” The young author said he has plenty of ideas swimming around in his head; “I’d go crazy if I didn’t have stuff written down.”
“Archer” is available through Amazon.com.