First Wave by JT Sawyer‏

JT Sawyer is the pen name for the author who makes his living teaching survival courses for the military special operations community, Department of Homeland Security, US Marshals, FAA, and other federal agencies throughout the US.

He has over 25 years of experience testing long-term survival skills in the desert, mountains, and forest.

Special Forces veteran Travis Combs just wanted to forget his weary years of leading combat missions while taking an extended rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.

As he and his group complete a 22-day trip on the Colorado River, they find the world has unraveled from a deadly pandemic.

Now, he has to show his small band how to live off the land and cross the rugged Arizona desert, while evading blood-drinking zombies, gangs of cartel bikers, and a rogue government agency.

Available at Amazon

 Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
I make my living as a survival instructor and teach courses throughout the Southwest. During many years of doing long road-trips by myself to very isolated desert regions, I’ve always mulled over the story idea of a man who comes off a lengthy wilderness trip and finds the world has unraveled from a pandemic or major disaster. What would that character go through, having just come from this serene setting with a handful of friends to now having to survive in a radically different world while evading cross-country?

For years, I used to teach field courses from 21-days to 9 weeks, where a small band of us are living very closely with the land and really out of touch with what’s happening in the other (modern) world. My wife still jokes about the time after we met, when I didn’t know who the President was because I had been pretty much living in the backcountry for four years.

I also do a lot of work with the military special operations community and took a lot of stories and expressions from them and combined these into the main character of Travis Combs. He is a burnt-out warrior trying to get on with his life and just finishing a 22-day Colorado River trip when the story opens.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
I had been mulling over the idea and character for several years while on long trips. I didn’t actually sit down to write the first book until July 2013 and then finished it in December. I sent it off to a professional editor in early January and published it on Kindle a short time later.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Being indoors after a long season of teaching in the wilds! I certainly enjoy the creative aspect that goes with fiction writing. It took some time for me to mentally switch gears from writing non-fiction survival books (under my actual name Tony Nester) and doing freelance writing. I had minored in English in college where I really delved into 19th century literature so it was like awakening a dormant part of me. I started by re-immersing myself in some of my favorite contemporary writers like TC Boyle and Elmore Leonard to name a few.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
The physical act of sitting for so long as I am a very active person. I set a disciplined schedule to write a minimum of two hours every day in the off-season. And as most indie-authors say, the marketing end of things is more challenging than the writing. I would agree but it’s a necessary rung in the ladder you have to climb. I’ve been fortunate in that I had already learned the ropes from promoting my non-fiction books so that has been a big help.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
It would be Lt. Britton Davis who was a U.S. officer during the Geronimo Campaign. Since I was a kid, I have scoured the literature on the US-Apache Conflict that went on from the 1870s to 1886 and would sure like to see the Southwest through his eyes. That was a fascinating time in this country’s history and a little-known historical era in the mainstream text books. It’s also in my home state of Arizona where many of the battlefields and Apache hideouts are still intact.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
A bunch of lake trout that I pulled out of the freezer five days ago. Since hunting season started here in recent weeks, I’ve put aside the fish for a while but I better get those grilled up!

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have a fourth installment in the Travis Combs series coming out next year. This will be a meaty book with lots of global travel and the larger picture of the pandemic. I have also completed the first book in a new series about a female Secret Service Agent who is forced to contend with the catastrophic changes of a post-apocalyptic world as she tries to keep those under her protection alive. This will be due out before Christmas.

I have two non-fiction narrative books on “life on the trail” that are on track for being released this winter so it’s looking like a busy year ahead. My formal guiding/teaching season ends in October so that gives me much of the winter to hunker down at home and navigate through the keyboard wilderness.

Thank you for this opportunity!!

JT Sawyer

Follow Me

Pembroke Sinclair's books on Goodreads
Life After the Undead Life After the Undead
reviews: 55
ratings: 100 (avg rating 3.64)

The Appeal of Evil The Appeal of Evil (The Road to Salvation, #1)
reviews: 38
ratings: 63 (avg rating 3.54)

Wucaii Wucaii
reviews: 32
ratings: 35 (avg rating 4.11)

Death to the Undead Death to the Undead (Sequel to Life After the Undead)
reviews: 20
ratings: 39 (avg rating 4.23)

Dealing with Devils Dealing with Devils (The Road to Salvation, #2)
reviews: 22
ratings: 32 (avg rating 4.00)