Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Jakarta Pandemic by Steven Konkoly

The Jakarta Pandemic

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In the late fall of 2013, a lethal pandemic virus emerges from the Islamic Republic of Indonesia and rages unchecked across every continent. When the Jakarta Flu threatens his picture perfect Maine neighborhood, Alex Fletcher, Iraq War veteran, is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. As a seasoned sales representative for Biosphere Pharmaceuticals, makers of a leading flu virus treatment, Alex understands what a deadly pandemic means for all of them. He particularly knows that strict isolation is the only guaranteed way to protect his family from the new disease.

With his family and home prepared for an extended period of seclusion, Alex has few real concerns about the growing pandemic. But as the deadliest pandemic in human history ravages northern New England, and starts to unravel the fabric of their Maine neighborhood, he starts to realize that the flu itself is the least of his problems. A mounting scarcity of food and critical supplies turns most of the neighbors against him, and Alex is forced to confront their unexpected hostility before it goes too far. Just when he thinks it can’t get any worse, the very face of human evil arrives on Durham Rd. and threatens to destroy them all. Alex and his few remaining friends band together to protect the neighborhood from a threat far deadlier than the flu, as they edge closer to the inevitable confrontation that will test the limits of their humanity.


He lowered his night vision scope for a moment and rubbed his eyes. Now, even the green image in the scope added to his discomfort. He just hoped that Charlie was keeping a better watch over the stretch of ground that defined the ambush site.

He’d better be, or they could stumble right through here undetected.

Alex had doubts about spotting them with his night vision scope. The near absence of ambient light, combined with a blinding snowstorm, continued to degrade the already grainy image formed by the inexpensive first generation night scope.

He twisted open the green ceramic thermos, and poured the last of the hot tea prepared for him by Kate. He sipped the steaming tea from the thermos cap, and placed the cap down next to the rifle in front of him and took another look through the night vision. He could still see the Hayes' house, but the image was even grainier. He knew the batteries were not the issue; he’d just changed them. Soon enough, he'd have to rely solely on Charlie to spot them in time to spring a coordinated ambush. If not, he'd have to take the three men down himself, which wasn't optimal, but was still well within his range of capabilities. He didn’t want to think about what could happen if they slipped by him. Nothing would stand between these psychopaths and his family.

As long as I see them before they're right on top of me I'll be fine.

Alex swigged the rest of the warm tea and replaced the lid. He tucked the thermos into his backpack and checked his rifle again. Looking through the Aimpoint scope, he saw that the red dot still glowed brightly in the center of the sight. He pulled back on the AR-15's charging handle, and ejected the bullet loaded in the chamber, leaving the brass cartridge in the snow where two other bullets lay. He’d ejected one bullet every half hour to ensure that the freezing temperatures had not affected the weapon's mechanical action. A malfunction tonight would spell disaster.

He suffered a sudden, violent, and insuppressible full body shiver, which rendered him useless for a few seconds. He couldn’t last out here all night, and he knew it. He looked through the night vision scope again, and the green image confirmed that he was still alone. Staring through the scope, he wondered how it was possible for things to have spiraled so far out of control.

So far gone, in fact, that he now found himself lying under a neighbor's play set in a blizzard, eagerly waiting to kill. He never thought twice about doing this in Iraq. It was his mission. He didn't really have any problem with it here either, and he could rationalize this act on several levels. He had to do it: for the good of the neighborhood, and probably society in general; but most importantly...for the immediate safety of his family.

And in the end, that was all that really counted for Alex.

About Steven Konkoly

Steven Konkoly graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served on active duty for eight years with various Navy and Marine Corps units. He currently lives with his family in southern Maine, where he works for a major pharmaceutical company.

The Jakarta Pandemic is my first of many novels. When I’m not busy with a full-time job, running a family, trying to stay in reasonable shape for a forty-year old ex-military type, and sailing (and the upkeep of a boat)…I lock myself into my office and work on the next one.

Interview with Steven Konkoly

What will readers like about your book? 

The Jakarta Pandemic is a realistic story that thrusts the reader into the shoes of Alex Fletcher, a humorous, easy going father on the eve of an apocalyptic pandemic disaster. Readers become quickly attached to Alex and his family, as they fight through one challenge worse than the next as the Jakarta Flu tears through their town, stripping away the tenuous bonds between friends, family and neighbors. The Jakarta Pandemic is the ultimate “what would I do in this situation” story, because the premise is thoroughly realistic, and the action surrounding each crisis is compelling and thought provoking.

Why did you self publish? 

I initially self-published to make the book available to family and friends. It developed a solid niche following, which quickly and unexpectedly expanded. By the time I had settled down to seriously dig into the query process, I had to ask myself. Why? I chose to pour my time and efforts into writing a new book, and improving The Jakarta Pandemic based on reader feedback. Oh, and a little marketing here and there…actually, quite a lot.

What is your writing process?

I start writing a scene, then maybe another. The scenes may not be connected, but they help me to develop the protagonists personality and back story. For both novels, I started with a Prologue that showed the protagonist earlier in life, in a significant, character shaping event. I’m typically a highly organized person, so this process will eventually start to bother me, and I will sit down and draw a plot line flow chart or story outline. I will also start notebook with character names, chronological details, and other important aspects to remember. I use Post Its for new ideas, or additions to written scenes, and post them on my desk. I attempt to “eliminate” these, in between solid stretches of writing, by going back into the story and making the recommended changes.

How long does it take you to write your first draft? 

My first book took three years. I stopped and started, with no set schedule. I loved the finished product so much, that I have buckled down and now religiously write about a thousand words per day. I should finish the first draft of Black Flagged by September…October at the latest. So, I went from 3 years to 6 months, hopefully. There are few things as satisfying or exciting as the feel of your story, physically in your hand.


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  1. This is the kind of book I like to read.
    I am an Indie author and would love to do a review, and have a interview.
    Margaret L. Turley
    author of Save the Child
    administrator of Writers Unite to Fight Cancer.

  2. Another one I put on my Wish List. :-)