Ask The Experts | Joan De La Haye

Joan De La Haye is a South African author whose post apocalyptic zombie novella Oasis comes out later this month.

So since it’s obviously been on her mind we invited Joan to share her thoughts about the apocalypse with us.


What’s your favourite apocalypse scenario and why?

I love the Resident Evil movies! I find the idea of human mutation, whether by natural means or test tubes, fascinating.
Can you imagine mutating into something really cool, but deadly? And then doing that on a global scale?
Every living breathing person mutating into something either absolutely amazing or completely horrific.
Oh! The fun I could have with that …

Name one thing everyone should do to be prepared for the end of the world? 

Learn how to shoot! If the end is coming, you’re going to have to be able to shoot to kill, whether it’s to defend yourself against Zombies or other people who want your stuff.

Sooner or later you’re going to have to pull that trigger and you’ll live longer if you know how to aim properly.

Where’s the line between being prepared and obsessing over uncontrollable future events?

Good question! I think having a survival kit under your bed is probably a good idea and just being prepared, but spending your life savings on a bunker under your house may be a bit excessive. But then again, if the world really does end in an atomic war, you’ll be glad you did and the rest of us who thought you were bat shit crazy will be begging you for a place in it.

What’s in your survival “bug out” bag?

I’ve got a space blanket, a swiss army knife, hiking boots, camo cargo pants, a machete (it doesn’t run out of bullets), a revolver and spare amo. And because I’m a writer I’ve also got an empty journal and a few pens. A writer has to write no matter how bad the shit is hitting the fan.

Which cultural institution would you die to defend? Electricity, the internet, printed books, etc.

I think Electricity and running water are the most important ingredients to civilisations survival. If we can defend those two, everything else can be rebuilt.

What’s the most important thing the survivors have to remember above day to day survival?

That even when things are at their worst, you still need to find a glimmer of hope. Hope can be found in all sorts of places. It can be found in a simple smile, in a child’s giggle.
Laughter and hope go together. So stop and find something to laugh about. Sing and dance and make music. I’m a firm believer in that old saying: Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.

When do you open the door, i.e. how do you pick and choose between refugees, or do you leave them to their fate?

Obviously family and good friends come first. It also depends on how much food and space I have and what those refugees have to offer.
If they’re hysterical and are going to get me and everybody else killed, they can fend for themselves. Harsh, I know. But we are talking about survival here.

How do you make sure you aren’t caught short when the day comes, i.e. avoiding “I left my apocalypse kit in another car”?

By having more than one survival kit and then stashing them in a few places, that way I’ll never be caught short.

For what person or thing would you break all the rules and go back anyway?

I’d go back for my dog, Tolstoy. He’s too beautiful to be left to be turned into a zombie dog. Plus he’s a husky, so he can pull a sled with all my survival gear. He’ll come in handy.