“Uh oh,” I said to myself, after reading an email from an old friend of mine who lives in the Pacific Northwest. “This could be a problem.”
My friend, Barbara, like me, grew up in western Oregon where thunderstorms are few and far between, and supercells—the most violent of all thunderstorms, the kind that spit out tornadoes—virtually nonexistent.
So I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when she, in her email, asked if my new novel, Supercell, was about health or nuclear energy. WHAT!? The thought of tornado-spawning thunderstorms never crossed her mind.
I told her that if she had ever lived in the Midwest, Great Plains or South (or probably just about any place east of the Rockies), the word supercell would have an entirely different connotation. I explained to her what a supercell is and that my novel is a thriller set against tornado chasing—or perhaps more accurately, supercell chasing—on the Great Plains.
Just to make sure I wasn’t yanking her chain, Barbara called some friends in Illinois and asked them what came to mind when they heard “supercell.” She immediately discovered there was no chain-yanking going on.
But I suppose the book’s title, to those who have never dwelt in storm-cellar country, or who aren’t fascinated by the weather, could be a bit of a puzzler. I might just have to write off Westerners as a potential audience.
On the other hand, the cover of the book, which Barbara hadn’t seen, clearly depicts something that isn’t health related (although getting slammed by an EF-5 could be detrimental to your well being) or that looks anything like a nuclear explosion.
So between the cover image and the back-cover blurbs, I think most folks will figure out that Supercell will sweep them up in a non-fissionable adventure.
Think Eyewall without the ocean and sans a Hurricane Hunter aircraft.