LIVING ON THE FAULT LINE

image.vam.synacor.com.edgesuiteI believe there are two different ways Cascadia, my newest novel, is being read.  It’s dependent, I think, upon where the readers live.

When I do a presentation on Cascadia in the Southeast, where I reside, I’ve discovered I need to do a little extra.  I have to set the stage for the drama, because most people outside the Pacific Northwest don’t understand the existential threat this thing featured in the novel, the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), poses.  They aren’t knowledgable about the acute danger that lurks in Washington and Oregon, as well as in southern British Columbia and northern California.

WHERE WILL YOU BE ON “C-DAY?”

imagesWhere will you be on “C-Day,” the day the Cascadia Subduction Zone blows a gasket?  Yeah, yeah, I know.  Maybe we’re all six feet under or blowing in the wind by then.

Or maybe not, not if Cascadia lets ‘er rip tomorrow or over the Fourth of July weekend, like in the novel, Cascadia.

So, where might you be?

 

Possibly, like a guy nicknamed Shack in Cascadia, you’re visiting the small Oregon coastal town of Manzanita and just sitting down to breakfast in The Big Wave Cafe.

YES, I KNOW THAT’S NOT WHAT A REAL TSUNAMI LOOKS LIKE

CASCADIA FRONT COVER 4_1When I got my first look at what is now the cover of Cascadia, my left-brain (logical, factual) persona took over.

 I fired off an email to my publisher: “NO, sorry.  The cover image looks great, but it’s much too Hollywood.  A real tsunami doesn’t look anything like that.”

Now most publishers, especially the majors, will merely drop a cover in an author’s lap and say, “That’s it.”  But in an unusual effort to accommodate their left-brained, pain-in-the-ass novelist, me, Bell Bridge Books ran through five more iterations of the cover.

How EYEWALL influenced CASCADIA

Eyewall-cvrOf the four novels I’ve had published so far, my first, Eyewall, remains by far the best seller.  That’s been a little difficult for me to come to grips with, since I don’t think the book necessarily reflects my best writing.  It’s not that it’s bad writing—or it would never have sold as many copies as it has—it’s just that I like to think I grow (get better) as a writer with each new effort.

HOW A NOVEL IS CONCEIVED

searchI grew up in western Oregon.  It seemed, at least in terms of natural threats, a bucolic place in which to spend my youth.  For instance, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes there were about as common as the Northern Lights in Georgia.   Hurricanes were nonexistent.  Such storms are born over warm oceans.  If you’ve ever dipped a toe into the Pacific along the Oregon coast, you know it’s water in which Polar Bear Plungers could train even in August.

DOES A HURRICANE DISASTER LOOM? WHY I’M WORRIED

When the great “Dixie Tornado Outbreak” of April 2011 ripped through the Deep South, I remember being absolutely appalled that over 300 lives were snuffed out.

How could that happen, I wondered, in this era of sophisticated weather prediction, detection and warning systems? You had to go back to 1936, into the “Dark Ages” (my term) of meteorology, to find a higher death toll in a multi-day outbreak: 419, Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gainesville, Georgia.

But back to 2011. Earlier that year, a violent twister snatched away 158 lives in Joplin, Missouri. Prior to that, the record holder for a single city was Woodward, Oklahoma: 181 deaths in 1947.