Friday, May 4, 2012

Guest Post: What Would Scott Cramer Do?

Hey everyone!

Today we're talking to Scott Cramer, author of Night of the Purple Moon. Here's a little about the book:
Space germs decimate the adult population. Who will survive? 
For months, astronomers have been predicting that Earth will pass through the tail of a comet. They say that people will see colorful sunsets and, best of all, a purple moon. 
But nobody has predicted the lightning-fast epidemic that sweeps across the planet on the night of the purple moon. The comet brings space dust with it that contains germs that attack human hormones. Older teens and adults die within hours of exposure. 
On a small island off the coast of Maine, a group of teens and children struggle to survive in this new world, but all the while they have inside them a ticking time bomb — adolescence. ~ Courtesy of Goodreads

Surviving after space dust decimates the adult population—what would you do?

I want to be very careful how much I give away about my YA dystopian novel Night of the Purple Moon. But I think this much is safe to say: Earth becomes a planet of young teens and children---virtually overnight--after space dust from the tail of a comet penetrates the atmosphere. The dust contains germs that attack the hormones which come at the onset of puberty. Older teens and adults have these hormones in abundance. Children and younger teens do not. Yet every one of the survivors of the lightning fast epidemic has a ticking time bomb inside of them: growing into adolescence.

As the author of NOPM, I created a world on a small, often foggy island off the coast of Maine—Castine Island--where I follow, if you will, a group of teens and children as they cope with the catastrophe and struggle to survive and provide for each other.

What if you suddenly found yourself in a similar situation? Would you panic? Step forward as a leader? Go into a shell? Would you become depressed and despondent, or would you bury your feelings and do what was necessary to provide for yourself and others? Perhaps you would do all of the above. Every hour you might cycle through a wide range of emotions, moments of strength and weakness, courage and abject fear. And at some point, even surrounded by such horror, you might find yourself laughing at something in a release of tension.

The situation in Night of the Purple Moon is certainly extreme and dire, but there are also many real world examples happening every day where people find themselves in life and death struggles: Wars, tsunamis, famines, nuclear catastrophes… Of course, there are usually adults around to make the decisions.

I was actually asked in another interview, by Jim Dean, who runs the book blog YA YEAH YEAH, what I would have done as a boy on Castine Island. I had to think what unique skills I possessed (Not many). And I tried to think how I would have reacted to the sudden deaths of
parents, of all parents, and older siblings, police, firemen, every grown up.

I started by taking an inventory of what I could do and not do naturally. Then as now, I am slightly squeamish at the sight of blood. I have a slight fear of heights. I can’t build a fire without matches. My father was very good at building things, but those genes skipped over me. What I can do, though, is fish and garden, and I like to think I have a solid sense of justice. I like to see people treated fairly, no matter their faults or personalities. I don’t like bullies.

Life on Castine Island has pros and cons. It is surrounded by the ocean and offers a bounty of fish. The soil, however, is very poor, making it difficult to grow things. There are wild berries to pick, a good source of Vitamin C. But there is no fresh water. There are deer on the island, but they are stalked by a growing population of coyotes. Since the island is 20 miles off the coast, it does offer protection from invaders. There is no telling how some kids will react when supplies are limited.

So here goes. Scott Cramer, 13-years old, would do the following. I would freak out. I would cry. I would bury my head in the sand. I would reach the limit of my fear and then go beyond it. And then, slowly but surely, I would recover. I would be able to function. Survival instinct would kick in. I would see that everyone else was in the exact same situation. I would like to think that we would be stronger as a group, all helping each other. I would fish and garden and try to solve the biggest problem, a lack of fresh water. I would see if we could collect rainwater, or perhaps try to build fresh-water stills, boiling sea water and condensing the steams. There would also be a bounty of soda and bottled water and canned goods and medicines in all of the homes of the people who died. The hardware store, pharmacy, and other businesses would be excellent sources of useful items.

Like in the pioneer days, especially in cold climates, you have to think about the winter. I would visit the library and try to find books on how the pioneers lived. How do you can vegetables, salt or smoke fish?

There is a saying “invention is the mother of necessity.” To me, that means everyone has incredible, untapped potential, and when your very existence is on the line, you will come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things. You will surprise yourself. Courageous acts are often done by meek people.

What about the kids on Castine Island? Well, I had a lot of confidence in their abilities, but I also had to face the reality that not all of them would make it. If you check out the book, you can see what really

--Scott Cramer

Night of the Purple Moon, 260 pages, is available as an ebook from

Thanks for sharing your survival plan with us, Scott.

And you can find Night of the Purple moon at these great sites!

1 comment:

  1. Thoughtful comments by the author---stretching my mind to thinking of young people, in a class assignment, writing about what each would do in a similar situation. NOPM, which I've read, I find a great teaching tool---especially in the current economy, anywhere in the world.


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