Behind the Scenes

I never set out to write a trilogy.

But after the success of Eyewall, my debut novel in 2011, I began to think about it.  I wasn’t contemplating a trilogy in the sense of having the same characters in three different books, but of using three different major weather events as the settings for the books.

Eyewall centered around a Category 5 hurricane smashing into the Georgia coast.  I figured the next logical step from that was into “severe weather”–severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.  Thus was born Supercell, a drama set against tornado chasing on the Great Plains.  The novel did well and became a finalist in the 2015 Electronic Publishers Industry Coalition eBook award competition.

With hurricanes and tornadoes out of the way, the remaining big weather event that jumped out at me was a blizzard.  I mentioned the idea to an editor at BelleBooks, Deborah Smith.  “I’m going to have my hero battling his way from Point A to Point B through a big New England blizzard,” I said.

“Why New England?” she asked.  “Blizzards are nothing new to folks there.  They’re used to them.  Why not set the novel in the South where a storm like that would be truly unique?”

Duh.  Why didn’t I think of that?  I guess because I’d spent twenty years in New England and was comfortably familiar with “blizzard country.”

But setting the story in the South where snowstorms are rare–and blizzards even rarer–made a lot of sense.  Atlantans go crazy at the mere mention of snow flurries, so imagine what fun a novelist could have with a Southern blizzard!  Besides, I’ve now lived in the South longer than I did in New England.

As it turns out, had the novel been set in New England, it likely would have been buried by the reality of the record-setting snowfalls that slammed the region at the same time the book was released in early 2015.

So, on a couple of levels, the southern setting worked out better

By the way, while the books I write are fiction, they are not science fiction or fantasy.  They’re grounded in real meteorology.  The events depicted, while improbable, are not impossible.  As I novelist, I’m just stretching the envelope of reality to the ripping point.

I hope you enjoy my “weather trilogy”–Blizzard, Supercell and Eyewall.