Extreme Data Recovery: Author Runs into a Fiery House to Save Unpublished Novel
Two weeks ago we heard reports of an author who risked his life sneaking past the firefighters into a burning house to save his laptop. It had the only copy of his latest novel. “When I heard my house was on fire,” Gideon Hodge said, “I ran up to the perimeter set by the firefighters, then walked calmly until I saw an opening that no one was watching. That was when I bolted for it!”
Today, the firefighters, the author and his work The Engineer's Empire are all safe. Between moving into a new house and getting the novel ready for publishing, Gideon found a few minutes to give us a first-person account into what’s it’s like to be so close to losing valuable data and many years of hard work.
Firefighters are trying to save Gideon’s house.
Gideon, thank you for sharing your experience with our readers. As a creative person, your writings are at the center of your life. Why do you think you didn’t back up?
You never really prepare for a tragedy like this. To be fair, I did have it backed up onto flash drives, in case my computer ever failed or crashed. However, those same flash drives were also in the house. I was not clear about Cloud storage previously. Much of the internet has enlightened me on that since.
How do you think you could teach someone who currently doesn’t protect his or her data to back up regularly?
Well, with cloud storage, you can back up regularly. Whereas with a flash drive, you have to remember to plug it in, and bring it with. Because apparently if your house burns down, that flash drive is not of much use unless it’s not in the house.
After family and personal and firefighter safety, what was running through your head before you ran in for your laptop, and after you recovered it?
I was worried that I was going to lose years’ worth of work. I would not just be losing the manuscripts themselves, but the years’ worth of notes and side stories. I also had numerous poems, short stories and screenplays on the computer as well.
A THOUSAND WORDS: Writer and actor Gideon Hodge runs past firefighters and into his burning apartment to retrieve his laptop with his writings on it as the New Orleans Fire Department battles a three-alarm blaze in an abandoned house in the 4200 block of South Rocheblave Street that spread to the neighboring apartment building on Thursday morning, September 15, 2016. (Photo by Michael DeMocker) #neworleans #nola #dedication #fire #writing
I have been a writer my entire life. It started with short stories and comics in grade school. I moved on to skits and plays in high school. I wrote more dramatic literature in college. I made several attempts at novels, but found myself unable to complete the entire story. Most writers usually have many different stories in their heads, and likely like myself, try to write them all at once. I used to bounce from story to story often without finishing any of them. In 2010 I finally made myself sit down and finish writing Lilith’s Redemption. It was finally released in 2014.
I would not have imagined myself running into a burning building before this incident. I like to think of myself as somewhat brave, but I think we all do until the situation arises. Had there been any people or living creatures in that house, they would have been my first priority. My fiancé was at work, and my neighbors explained to me that our cat was safe as I ran up. That left only the laptop with my life’s work on it.
I’ve had people after the fact tell me how brave I was, or that they could not have done what I did. Honestly, I think that there’s something that everyone would run into that house for. It might not be an object for everyone, but I hope that everyone has something dear enough to them that they would risk themselves to save it.
Now it’s back to editing. I’m already on the third novel in this series, The Engineer’s Empire, and I toggle between writing and editing. I hope not to keep the public waiting too long on this. I just have a lot to juggle right now as I put my life back together. I have been asked to create a page for viewers to pre-order the book. It’s available here: http://www.highcalibertalent.com/
My only full outfit to survive the fire. I may not have much, but I still have magic... pic.twitter.com/a4bR9LLEjB— Gideon Hodge (@gideonhodge) September 19, 2016
Gideon, thank you and all the best with your next novel!
I’d also like to take this moment to again thank everyone for their love and support throughout all of this. Many people go through hardship and tragedy. This is not my first taste or loss or defeat. It is, however, the first time I have seen this sort of response to these circumstances. With the utmost gratitude and humility, and would like to thank everyone that reached out and offered their help. Thank you.
And for our readers — backing up your laptops is easy. Download Acronis True Image, install it in a few clicks and set up automatic protection. Your data will be continuously backed up and you won’t have to risk your life recovering your valuable work and irreplaceable digital memories.