WHY I DIDN’T ADDRESS “COUNTING THE DEAD” IN CASCADIA

earthquake-damage-1CASCADIA isn’t totally a novel.  By that I mean it’s not completely fiction.  The event the novel is set against, a massive earthquake and huge tsunami in the Pacific Northwest, is something that’s really going to happen.

In my previous novels, EYEWALL, SUPERCELL and BLIZZARD, I depicted major weather events that, while certainly possible, are not highly probable.  In other words, I stretched, maybe to the ripping point, the envelope of meteorological likelihood.  (In case you’re wondering, SUPERCELL was likely the least “stretchy” of my tales.)

In CASCADIA, I didn’t have to stretch any envelopes.  In truth, I found it difficult to write some of the scenes because the expected destruction is so horrific. I did employ my imagination, but the descriptions are based on scientific and technical studies of the coming megathrust earthquake and tsunami.  The long pole in the tent is that no one knows when they’re coming . . . except for a fictional character in my book, and even he’s not certain.  The disaster could strike today or two hundred years from today.

I also found it more challenging than I might have thought to write about the devastation of a region I grew up in and truly love.  In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to quantify death tolls despite various FEMA estimates floating around.  Instead, I focused on my characters and what happened to them and didn’t address “counting the dead.”  Besides, it’s characters, not events, that carry a novel.

I hope you’ll become invested in the characters and the seemingly insurmountable challenges they face.  Those were the parts of CASCADIA I most enjoyed crafting.

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