R.P. Ruggiero, Author of The Brushfire Plague, a fiction book from Prepper Press!
R.P. lives in Colorado with his wife and two sons, spending much time as he can in the outdoors. He strives to live by the credo that “Specialization is for insects.”
When R.P. is not outdoors, writing, or learning a new prepping skill, he works coordinating people to achieve their common goals. He brings his 20 years of experience in group dynamics practice and management, particularly when people are under stress to good use in his novel The Brushfire Plague. The book is grounded in neighborhood defense during a devastating plague.
R.P. grew up loving to read apocalyptic fiction, so it was natural for his writing to examine how to be ready for “the end.” In his adulthood, he works with groups that experience a high degree of stress and challenge to achieve their goals, thus focusing his consideration of group dynamics in the Brushfire Plague series. His writing also has strong consideration for community cooperation and personal involvement. He gives importance to having a community become involved with the situation when a disaster happens. There is safety in numbers, and their importance is especially evident when society is pressed to the limit. Unfortunately, a crisis or disaster scenario can totally disintermediate group dynamics.
Reading good survival fiction is a great way to catch the vision of the author—and benefit from his imagination and insights as he discloses the details of scenarios that our normalcy bias prevents us from seeing. I’ve never been a fiction reader—except for school assignments. I will admit to having a growing appreciation of the imagination and forethought good TEOTWAWKI writers have utilized to help us have the opportunity to look into the psyche of the uncertain future from a different point of view––a perspective that helps us check our preps to make sure we’ve covered the new-found possibility we’ve just discovered!
To introduce The Brushfire Plague, here’s a short synopsis of Volume I in the trilogy:
A virulent plague erupts across the globe, and Cooper Adams faces a daily battle for survival as society unravels at unbelievable speed. With his past military training, he organizes his neighbors for self-defense and strives to save them from marauders. However, he’s driven to save his wife, but to no avail. He accidently discovers the first clues about the origin of the plague that is killing hundreds––ultimately, thousands––of millions around the world. In his pursuit of information and discover, Cooper learn the truth. However, he must combat looters, organized gangs, and those protecting the Brushfire Plague’s secrets. His son is stricken by the plague, so his search to uncover the plague’s origin and a possible cure transforms into a race against the clock. When he finds the source of the Brushfire Plague in his hometown, Cooper faces a paralyzing choice between exposing what he has learned with potentially shattering consequences, or abetting a horrible secret and giving his nation a chance to recover and rebuild against a sea of enemies.
In The Brushfire Plague II
A: A virulent plague breaks out. It’s like nothing ever seen before; both in its rate of contagion and morbidity. People do start dropping like flies. The outbreak is worldwide. Against this backdrop, Cooper Adams who is your average guy—a travelling salesman, actually—who must step up and organize his neighbors to defend themselves from the escalating violence and chaos. He soon gets the first clues that maybe the Brushfire Plague—so named for how fast it moves—wasn’t just some fluke of nature. So, he starts tracking those clues down—as the situation deteriorates all around him. He and his neighbors are confronted with tough decisions and tense discussions along the way. In the end, Cooper’s son Jake falls ill and his search transforms into a race against time. What he learns about the Plague forces him to confront a horrible choice between hiding it and giving our country a chance to recover or telling the world the truth about he’s learned, with possible horrendous consequences.
Q: What made you write this book?
A: First of all, I’ve always been a fan of this genre. Since I was a kid, I enjoyed apocalyptic fiction. I would read anything I could get my hands on, from Alas, Babylon to Planet of the Apes to I am Legend. I have simply always been fascinated with how civilization might end. Second, in the last few years, as ‘survivalist’ or ‘prepper’ fiction has developed, I have read here as well, both for entertainment as well as learning some useful lessons about my own preparations. Finally, I wrote this book because I wanted to focus on how society might be upended and also to focus on how a group of people would deal with it.
Q: Can you say more about that?
A: Sure. Almost every time I have read apocalyptic fiction that takes place after a society has collapsed, I want to know: what were the first days and weeks like? Brushfire Plague takes place entirely within the first few weeks of the outbreak. So, that’s a very interesting period of time to think about, write about, and plan for! Then, very few of these books focus on the group dynamics in this kind of situation. It’s too common for the protagonist to be a tough guy and everyone else does what he wants or he kills them! I think that’s very unrealistic. I think it helps make a great story and can provide some useful things to think about; if you ever have to deal with this kind of situation. I believe group dynamics will be key to survival.
Q: What are your qualifications to write this book?
A: First, I hope readers will agree I’m a decent writer! With a work of fiction, I think the ability to tell a good story, with real and engaging characters is paramount. I think your readers will be pleased with the quality of the writing. Also, I’m an avid reader in this genre so I’m very familiar with it. Second, my day job is one where I work with groups of people, often under extreme stress. I bring that knowledge of people and group dynamics to good use in Brushfire Plague. Finally, I know enough about firearms, basic tactics, and being prepared to build in real, credible lessons into the book.
Q: Why should someone buy your book over the other offerings out there?
A: I think my book brings a lot to this genre. So far, it’s been received well by a wide spectrum of readers—from those unfamiliar with this genre to those who read everything in this genre to hard-core survivalists. I believe the writing is strong, the characters are engaging, and the story is fast-paced and really pulls the reader in. My favorite feedback so far has been, “Your book made me think I needed some more canned goods and learn how I might defend myself!” That shows impact on the reader. I also think Brushfire Plague can be the perfect way to introduce a reluctant spouse, friend, or family member into this genre and bring them a greater awareness to the need to be better prepared.
Q: What are you proudest of in Brushfire Plague?
A: Boy, that’s a tough one. I’m pretty happy with lots of different aspects of Brushfire. But, I’d have to say that the emotional connection readers have passed on to me that they’ve made with various characters: from Cooper Adams, the protagonist, to Paul Dranko, his survivalist friend, to Cooper’s son, Jake. This has me proudest I guess. If readers don’t connect to the story and its characters, nothing else really matters, you know?
Q: Do you call yourself a ‘Prepper’ or a ‘Survivalist’?
A: You know, I hate labels. I just consider myself to be doing what every responsible father and every American should be doing. I’m prepared for a variety of situations that could arise where I might have to take care of my family when ‘normal’ life has been disrupted. I think of what I do as being no different than buying fire insurance. I’m not prepared for everything…I can’t afford it! But, I feel like I’m just being responsible.
Q: What’s your favorite firearm?
A: This won’t surprise anyone who has read Brushfire Plague already! My rifle of choice is the FN FAL. My favorite pistol is the M&P series by Smith and Wesson; in .357SIG. To be honest, the M&P is the first pistol that I can actually fire accurately!
Q: If you could do one thing differently with Brushfire Plague, what would that be?
A: That’s easy, I would have had 100,000 copies pre-ordered! Seriously, while I’m pretty happy with it, there were a few characters I wish I had spent a few more pages on. But, I plan to rectify that in the sequel!
Brushfire Plague can be purchased in paperback or for the Kindle @ Amazon, Click Here.