Well the short answer is Im just a dude that wrote a story that I myself would enjoy reading.
Long answer is that I grew up reading fiction like the Hobbit (before it was cool), and some semi-midevil adventure books – the Myth series from Robert Asprin – always liked robin hood and the Lego Castle sets and stuff like that as akid. Fast forward a few years and I now allow myself to be entertained by decent shows like the Walking Dead or movies like Book of Eli. I can watch the zombie stuff with tongue in cheek and dont get all overboard on the end of the world stuff, but its still the genre that I gravitate towards. So thats maybe the set up for my reading and writing in this genre.
My real introduction besides some little short stories was Deep Winter by Thomas Sherry. In fact Against the Grain started out as a companion piece to that, but evolved into its own book. Then I kept looking for other books in the same category and ended up reading a bunch of really crappy novels. Seemed like each one had the same stuff in it with the ex military know it all guy, or the fate of the world rest on one little guy… I just couldn’t identify with those premises and thats maybe when stuff for Against the Grain started to form.
Other books had OK or even good plots, but the dialog just held them back in my opinion. The Hunger Games was a great and game changing story (no pun), as far as the dystopian/post collapse genre goes as it opened the door for young adults into the genre, but even with that I found the literal text a little too precise and sterile.
So finally I said, heck, I’ll just write a story with no big plot, it’ll be fiction, but try to keep it as realistic as possible and fix the crappy character to character dialogs of other stories by doing mine better. I wanted a fun, easy, but good read. Not depressing and not way out of reality, although of course you have to exaggerate a little to get something worth reading.
I never really thought I’d do much with it but one night around a campfire I ended up confessing my ideas to a friend of mine who thinks a lot like I do when we were talking about other books and he ended up editing it for me. He reads the same stuff I do, is super critical of reading and writing – probably more so than I am, he hangs out in the same circles of shooters, backpackers, and preparedness types but is also similar to me in our down to earth approach on that stuff, maybe not taking it as seriously as other people do, so he was the perfect editor for me.
When we decided to try and make a go of it as an actual book, I had to change the story to give it some (mini) plot and depth, you know, give it a point, and thats where some of the cheesy and typical damsel in distress and voyage in the barren land stuff sneaked in. Pretty unavoidable when trying to actually make a book out of it, but I did try to keep that stuff to a minimum.
I did selfpublish after doing a bit of research on what was best suited to my goals (which were basically unknown at the time … and still are unknown), but it didn’t cost me a dime other than my time and the cover art that I hired out. Self publishing let me control everything, not that im a control freak, but publishers pick the title, art, make as many changes to the story as they want from names to full plot changes, and then keep over half the royalties. Selfpublishing just put everything into my hands and it wasnt a giant project that i couldnt do myself. The marketing side is what publishers will use as their reason as why to use them but after reading books in this genre and finding out about them ONLY through non traditional marketing, ie forums and amazon’s lists of similar books, I saw the path and it has worked pretty well so far.