Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Storm Clouds--Blowin' That Plot Around

(Before I begin this long-planned blog post, I should note here that I have mad respect for weather, and watching so many family and friends in the path of Matthew last week--and those still dealing with it in North Carolina--is heartbreaking. )

That said, I'm a weather geek, I'll admit it. "The Weather Channel" is often default viewing in my household, so I guess it's only fitting that a weather incident caused me to start writing fiction and weather incidents play a part in quite a few of my novels.

Here's how it all began. About eleven years ago, I was a New Orleanian with no intention of or interest in writing a novel. Then Hurricane Katrina happened, and all that came after. Then the mild PTSD, which actually didn't feel that mild. Then, a few years after the storm, I uprooted and moved back to my native Alabama.

Boy, was I bored. And homesick. So I decided to write a short story set in New Orleans. It would be about a woman who unexpectedly shifted into an Irish terrier who bore an uncanny resemblance to my dog Shane, a notoriously undisciplined redhead.

No, that story never got past the first page because I had another idea. I'd write a story about a wizard with dementia. I finished it. It sucked, but I had another idea.

I'd write a fantasy novel about Hurricane Katrina. And so I did, and through circumstances I can only attribute to divine providence I sold ROYAL STREET and Tor Books published it in 2012. Book five in that Sentinels of New Orleans series, BELLE CHASSE, will be out on November 8.

You know what happens in BELLE CHASSE? A hurricane, although this one is caused by squabbling princes of Faerie.

You just can't beat a crazed faerie for weather trauma.

But then there's STORM FORCE, where the characters are stuck in the bayous east of Houston by....a hurricane named Bertha, after my maternal grandmother (bless her heart).

I think there might have been a wee bit of a flood in DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD. And, yeah, okay, my characters might have encountered some really rough seas in LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP.

Yes, okay, okay, weatherman Jim Cantore did get a mention in PIRATE'S ALLEY. He was coming to New Orleans to try and explain the ongoing blizzard....also caused by crazy faeries.

I do have books without weather trauma, of course. A few. Not many. But it does make for great suspense and forced exposure of heroes and heroines. And, besides, faeries need something to do!

Do you have a favorite book that uses weather in its plot?


Roger Simmons said...

"The Mist", by Stephen King comes to mind.

Suzanne Johnson said...

Good one! He also wrote "Storm of the Century"--how could I forget that one?!

miki said...

yours were the best i really felt like i was living the elements outlash^^

Liz S. said...

Sharon Sala has a romantic suspense trilogy that follows a serial killer who picks his victims in shelters after natural disasters. He works as a volunteer, so he follows the weather to pick his sites. It is an excellent series, but gave me the creeps!