Sydney-based author Eias Zanbaka has published his first short story, “Environmentally Friendly,” an action-packed thriller, which, according to its description, “centres around a highly unstable army veteran who is hell-bent on waging his own personal war against Mother Nature. He is the number one target being hunted by the LAPD as he rampages through the city in an attempt to provoke such a powerful and overwhelming force as Mother Nature into a highly personal battle.”
Fans of high-action thrill rides will love this fun read, which draws the reader in immediately.
The story really starts off right in the middle of the action. How did you decide to have readers dive right in like that?
As soon as the entire story had laid itself out in front of me, I knew I had to start it in a place that would make the reader feel as if a hand had just suddenly dropped them without warning, plunging them straight into the action and chaos from the get go. It was more of a gut feeling than anything else. It just felt right to me. If I’ve done my job right, then hopefully I’d have also evoked an immediate response to [the character Sgt.] Schaefer by putting the reader right into his shoes, making them feel as if they were ones ablaze and frantically trying to douse themselves. I wanted the story to then take off like a bullet from there. A part of it was me trying to see if I could write something that was fast and always moving, never sitting still for a second right until it crossed the finish line.
You’ve created some really interesting characters; will you be expanding this story in the future to include more background on their stories?
I’m really glad you found them interesting. Both Sgt. Schaefer and Sgt. Major Bushell were a lot of fun to write! I wasn’t expecting the unique relationship that ended up developing between the two as the story went on despite them being total strangers to one another.
To be quite honest, I had no idea what I had until I’d finished the short story and put it out there. To me, it was an interesting little story that I thought others might enjoy. After a few months, I began getting a lot of emails from people asking if I’d be planning on expanding it further – either into a full novel or a series. I hadn’t really thought about it but I knew there was some potential there, particularly in some of the things that are presented in the latter half of the story. It wasn’t until a month ago where I began to give it some thought, which then turned into a lot of thought and from there I’d managed to come up with a very detailed outline of what a continuation would be although I’m not sure when or if I’d turn it into an actual novel as I have other stories/ideas I’m working on.
What do you want readers to take away from your work?
Hopefully, they’d come out feeling very entertained and engaged by the story. I like to compare good stories to rides in amusements parks that you just want to go on again and again and if that’s what my story is to someone, then I’d say I’ve done my job. I’m not one to consciously put messages or statements in my stories but at the same time, if that’s what the reader has taken from it, then that’s also great! I’m in no position to tell them different. Despite all the intentions you have for the story and how you want it to be seen, it’s always going to come back to how the reader is going to see and experience it.
What was your inspiration for this story?
It’s actually kind of weird because it came to me in parts. I remember thinking about all those who chain themselves to trees to protect their environment and then going back to an assignment I’d done in high school on how some natural disasters can be caused by us neglecting it. I then had an image come to me of man doing the complete opposite of all this – cutting trees with a chainsaw, setting fire to them, doing everything in his power to destroy the environment in order to deliberately bring about a natural disaster. I then remember asking myself, who would do that? Is he bringing about this natural disaster to destroy the world or does he have something against Mother Nature? Something personal? Is this natural disaster like an enemy that he’s trying to flush out and bring into the open in order confront it? It was here then that an image came to me – one that even I thought was completely crazy that I won’t one spoil but happens in the latter half of the story that involves this confrontation with a natural disaster.
After writing this all down, I decided to shelve it until I found a way to make it all possible in the real world. It wasn’t until a year or so later, where I was introduced to the original “Mission: Impossible” television series, which always had the main characters having to rely on trickery and illusion to defeat their targets, that I’d found a way to do it. When I decided on doing this all through a chase and having my target be a man of the military, I drew on some of my favourite films like “First Blood”, “Lethal Weapon” and “Predator.”
What authors inspire you as a writer?
There’s a lot of them! I’m a big fan of storytellers like Matthew Reilly, Michael Crichton, Chris Allen, Ernest Cline, Leigh Brackett, James Patterson, William Peter Blatty, Thomas Harris, Alistair MacLean, Steve Worland and Borden Chase…just to name a couple.
Where can people read more of your work?
Well, this short story is only thing I’ve published so far. However, once I’ve finally decided to let go and send another one of my stories off to school after a few tears and hugs, my Goodreads page would be the first place to look.
About the author
My name is Elias Zanbaka and I’m from Sydney, Australia. Aside from being someone who’s not very good at talking about themselves in this way, I’m just a guy who simply likes to watch and read stories as well as tell them. I’ve always been a big fan of action, adventure and thrillers, which have always been my favourite genres to explore and work within. I love stories that engage, excite and entertain, making you want to revisit them once the initial rush and excitement wears off.
I would also like to thank Ashley for not only taking the time to read my short story but for having me here on her blog as well! I really appreciate it