I don't know about you, but I enjoy getting the story behind the story. It's always interesting to hear where the author found the inspiration, how much of it is actually based on true event (isn't the advice always "write what you know"?), and where they were hoping the story would take them in the end.
Of course, in the case of The End of the World Running Club, we know Adrian didn't base it completely on true events, because, well, if he did... SPOILER: we wouldn't be posting this spotlight because we'd have no internet because the world would have ended and civilization as we know it would have come to an end with it.
Baring that, that's have a look at where Adrian found the inspiration behind his book:
I wrote The End of the World Running Club because I
love the country where I grew up. I love it so much I wanted to smash it to
bits with space rocks.
Allow me to explain.
My dad was born in a fishing village on the west coast of Scotland. My
mum was born in a council estate in the north of England. My mum
grew up and moved to Scotland.
My dad took a boat to Australia.
Then my mum moved to Australia.
They got married and had my sister and lived in the bush suburbs of Sydney, where I was born.
My dad was a postman and a bush fireman and my mum taught drama to local kids.
Then they missed home and moved back to the UK. They tried Scotland first
but it was the late 70s and there were no jobs, so my dad got in a van and
drove off looking for one. He found one in the south of England. So
that’s where we moved.
That’s the first memory I have of a landscape; a land where
The house he bought for us had no roof and no
heating and was next to an ancient grave yard. We all slept in the front room
by a wood fire. The village was what you imagine English villages to be. It had
a haunted pub and a pond and a vicarage. Dad put a roof on the house and we
stayed there for a while. Then, after a few years, we moved to a village
nearby. I don’t know why.
On Saturday mornings I’d take my Raleigh Burner (a classic
bike of the time, complete with yellow Mag wheels and blue Tuff II tyres) and
ride off around the village calling on my friends. We’d spend the day looking
for trouble - hard to find in a small, sleepy English village. We probably
looked like the BMX Bandits after a run in with the Famous Five.
One Saturday in late Spring, I left a little earlier than
usual. The village was still asleep and I took some time to enjoy riding around
the empty streets before making my first call. I began to make up stories in my
head. I pretended that everyone had disappeared; that I was the only human
being left on earth after some mysterious cataclysm. It thrilled me. Like Ed,
the main character in The End of the World Running Club, it quickly became my
favourite childhood fantasy: a world emptied of people, a limitless playground
with no rules.
Somewhere along the line, I grew up and started moving about
the place. I lived in various places around the UK, did my stint in London trying
to be responsible, spent summers trying to surf in Cornwall (still my favourite
place in the British Isles, despite the graffiti scrawl across a road sign when
you enter the county that reads YOU ARE NOT IN ENGLAND), moved to Spain for a
while, travelled to Asia, spent a month on an empty beach in New Zealand trying
to write a book about two Carthaginian soldiers who take to the sea because it
has no borders, thought about moving to Australia but ended up moving to
Edinburgh, the hop-reeking, smoky, haunted, medieval capital of Scotland. That’s
where I wrote my first book, From the Storm, and it’s where I met my wife and
had our children.
My family have moved about a bit. We live in Texas now. No breed of
nationalism or patriotism exists within me; I feel no pride about being
Scottish, nor English, nor British - I’m writing this on the day that Scotland
voted NO to its independence from the UK, and I’m still unsure about how that
makes me feel.
What I do have is a deep fondness for the time and the place
in which I grew up.
I also have a bit of a thing for the apocalypse. I think it
stems from the mind of an eight-year-old boy in an empty village on a quiet
When I wrote The End of the World Running Club, I wanted to
capture that same eery feeling of wonder I felt as I swerved back and forth
across the road, splashing through puddles and enjoying the silence. I wanted
Ed - now a grown up, struggling with life as a father and weary of the noise
and clamour in the ever-more complicated, connected world sprawling around him
- to face his challenges in a country that had suddenly gone quiet, stripped
back to its bare landscape.
In order to do this, I had to throw some asteroids at it.
Quite a few, as it happens. The aftermath leaves Ed stranded in Scotland, facing a grueling journey on foot to
reach his family on the south coast of England before he loses them
There are some people left on the road, of course. And like
every post-apocalyptic story, some are friendly, some not so. The challenges Ed
really faces, though, are the ones posed by his own limits. To reach his family
on time, he ends up having to run - he has to run a lot. Running is a passion
of mine, but I’ve only every run as far as a marathon, so I interviewed anumber of ultra-running friends about their experiences covering long
distances. I wanted to be accurate in my descriptions of the trials Ed has to
endure…and Ed is far from marathon material, as you’ll find out if you read the
If you do read The End of the World Running Club, then I
hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’ve had some genuinely amazing responses
from readers so far, and that instant connection I can make with fans has
brought home just how incredible it is to be a self-published author right now.
Drop me a line to say hello - I’ll always write back.
Adrian J Walker was born in the bush suburbs of Sydney, Australia in the mid-70's. He self published From the Storm back in 2012. The End of the World Running Club is his second novel and he is actively writing his third as we speak. He currently lives in Texas with his wonderful, supportive wife and two kids who amaze him more every day.