Rachael L McIntosh’s second novel in the SECURITY THROUGH ABSURDITY series was inspired by her real-life experiences working for a major US defense contractor, her dealings with national news outlets, and her involvement in a US presidential campaign.
How did you come up with such an interesting title?
In 2008, Details magazine editor-at-large Jeff Gordinier released his book “X Saves the World–How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking.” BUBBLES WILL POP, the second book in the Security Through Absurdity series, pretty much outlines the sucking part. The story takes place during the housing collapse in America. The “Housing Bubble” is popping, and in the meantime, the main character pops. She gives birth to twins. The father of the twins, a defense contractor / mercenary she used to work with, cracks. And we watch on as this living nightmare begins to unfold.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m glad you asked that. There are many issues tucked into this book. This is a book by and for American GenerationX. I literally see it as a sort of historical document. Not only is the main character experiencing all sorts of new things with motherhood, she’s living through the process of breaking away from conventional thinking regarding everything from the US political system, medicine, to schooling her children.
How much of the book is realistic?
Way too much. Almost all of it is based on my real life experiences.
Was it hard to write a book that is based on so many of your own experiences?
No. It was actually very easy. The hard part came while editing. Having to read and re-live, over and over and over, the moments that were just miserable to begin with was incredibly stressful.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I honestly don’t know what else I could do right now. Since I opened the floodgates over here, I have no idea how to stop this! I have four more books and a play inside me right now. And I have to get them out.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The only thing I can think of is maybe I’d make some of the hints I’ve left in there that tie this book into an entire trilogy a bit more OBVIOUS. But I’m done with this book. It’s good.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes. I remember the exact moment. I knew that things weren’t looking good for America during the presidential election in 2012. I knew that things weren’t looking good for me and my children.
And I needed to do something with what I was witnessing and living through. I’m an artist. I have a degree in fine art, and usually I would have painted this out. But for two reasons I didn’t. One: I had two adorable, tiny children that needed attention, and the fumes from the paint and me being covered with linseed oil and turpentine was just not healthy. I tried acrylic paint there for a while but that really wasn’t doing it for me. AND Two: I needed more people to understand me. Painting is cool and all, but once you have your piece completed, it’s a very singular experience. If I wrote everything all out and published it, more people would be able to experience, understand, and commiserate with the distress message I was trying to broadcast.
What is your overall opinion of the publishing industry?
I have no idea what is going on. It appears very much to me like when the Internet first came on the scene. People were trying to game the search engines with their website listings. I see the same thing happening with Amazon. The only way to make it, it seems to me, is to understand Amazon. Which I guess is knowing which keywords to tweek in order to get your book in front of the right audience.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
THEY MIGHT AS WELL HAVE installed a conveyer belt. The house, once the kids came home, became one big production facility of feeding, burping, and changing. Jocelyn, although she had read and heard from more than one concerned, newfound environmentalist the statistics about how many disposable diapers stacked up would reach the moon, didn’t much care. It seemed like those giant boxes of Huggies couldn’t get through her door fast enough.
It was about two sleepless weeks after the birth of her children. Ethan was in Egypt, and Jocelyn was managing the baby machine solo when she finally took note of the mess of mail stacked up on the kitchen counter. She gathered it all up and took it over to her desk to sort. Mostly junk mail mixed with some bills.
She was surprised to find a UPS letter tucked in with all of the other stuff. She recognized the sender’s address immediately and tore it open, only to be completely baffled by what it contained.
I hope this letter finds you doing well. Smart thinking getting off the phone. NSA would be all over it. Check this shit out. I found it on our server last week. That’s not supposed to be there! I don’t think Dr. Lambert is behind this. We all know she doesn’t have the skills. Ha!
Please let me know when you get this letter.
“What the heck is Jerry talking about?” She shook her head as she rifled through the large black-and-white photos of a computer screen—some of which were not much more descriptive than the ultrasound printouts she had gotten at the hospital of the kids in utero. Jocelyn started to seriously question her former coworker’s mental health. “I don’t understand why Jerry is concerned about NASA,” she muttered. “Like the space agency would give a hoot about the division’s server.” She read through his letter again and snorted. “Jerry is so weird. He even spelled it wrong.” One of the babies started crying, distracting her from her thoughts. “Oh, someone wants a new diaper,” Jocelyn announced. And as soon as she said it, the other baby started to cry. “Yup, right on cue. These two are like clockwork.” She stuffed Jerry’s photos and letter back into its UPS packaging and tossed it into her bottom desk drawer. Though the bags under her eyes had bags under them, she smiled as she trotted off to comfort her babies.
Who designed the covers?
I came up with the concept for all three covers in PowerPoint. I wanted them to be simple colors like the SRA reading cards that we did in elementary school. Then I knew they had to be done up by a real graphic designer who could do “layers” for the printing process. I gave it all to my friend Catharine Ledoux who was, and I can’t say this enough, amazing. She really worked hard on the composition of that last cover. I love how she tied all the covers together. I’m just gonna say it, I LOVE MY COVERS.
Jocelyn McLaren, a former defense contractor, is now a new mother to twins! As she struggles to maintain what she imagines to be a normal family during the economic turmoil of the US housing collapse, she becomes involved in a political campaign and encounters troubling remnants of her life working for the military-industrial complex. These interactions haunt her, as well as the father of her children, and are ultimately interlinked with the most nefarious psychopaths on the planet.
Divided into three books, SECURITY THROUGH ABSURDITY is the story of corporate shenanigans, an uneasy home life, and a quixotic presidential campaign. These situations propel Jocelyn through a believably bizarre journey and into dangerous psychological territory. In a matrix of life-threatening situations, she is forced to question the very fabric of her Gen-X American upbringing.
Bubbles Will Pop is the second book in Jocelyn’s journey.