From luxurious condos to corrugated pipe bunkers, underground compounds are a (scary) reality. Many of my readers ask about Mia’s underground compound. Where did I find the inspiration for the layout of her living quarters? Are underground compounds in fact real? The simple truth is yes. For years, people have designed and built underground living facilities to guard against the threat of attack. Most are constructed for single family living, but places like the Greenbrier in WV, was designed to serve as an emergency shelter for the US government during the cold war.
The inspiration for Mia’s underground compound was born out of the “prepper” shows that I was hooked on a few years ago (and a healthy dose of imagination). I imagined Mia’s compound would need a leadership panel of some sort. I also thought there would be different classes of inhabitants, and jobs that would have to be completed for everyone to survive. But as much as the idea of underground compounds interested me, I was more interested in the healing earth, which is why the novel focuses on the “present” time and not the events that caused everyone to live underground. I was interested in how the earth would evolve without people present, and what people would find when they determined it was safe to resurface. The outside world of "Into the Air" is (currently) only inhabited by a select few. It’s a world that lost all of the advancements of a prior civilization, and has harkened back to more “primitive” forms of defense and living. It’s into this world that Mia emerges. An escape from her dark, dank, underground existence into a world of light and color.
As I sit at my dining room table working through sentence after sentence of Into the Air’s sequel, (I don’t have a title yet!) that world of color explodes before me. Red, gold, and all shades of green. The leaves are starting to fall, and the animals scurry passed my window snatching up acorns to get them through the winter. And although it is (somewhat) comforting to know that people have engineered structures to keep us safe from catastrophic events, I can’t imagine missing out on all of this beauty and surviving twenty feet under the earth!