21.11.11

The Hurricane Lover (How I got smote by the story hammer)

In the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina, my husband and I were among the volunteers who worked on relief efforts as evacuees were brought into Houston's Reliant Center. Carrying water to the long lines of people outside in the 105 degree heat, I heard hundreds of wrenching, vivid, emotional stories from the storm and its aftermath. A New Orleans police officer wryly remarked that this hurricane was the best thing that could happen to con artists and media people.

Bam. The story hammer smote me in the head. That night, sunburned and exhausted, I sat up until 3 AM with the first draft of this novel pouring out of me. I didn't have it all worked out, but I knew exactly who these people would be:

Shay Hoovestahl, privileged daughter of a Texas oil baron who's looking to break away from her pageant banner and make it on her own as a serious journalist.

Corbin Thibodeaux, her on/off (recently way off) lover, a New Orleans meteorologist, who is obsessed with the science of megastorms and specializes in assessing storm risk for oil companies.

Queen Mab, a clever con artist who and uses chaos as cover for identity theft and murder, luring her victims through HurricaneLovers.com, a website where people hook up to have sex in the midst of a hurricane. (Yes, people actually do that.)

Because this is the South, darlins, a slew of colorful characters came along to people up the story. High-strung family dynamics during this politically polarized moment in America makes for a substantive secondary storyline in The Hurricane Lover.

The journey to bring this book to the light of day has been an amazing learning experience - the perfect storm in many ways, including the dawn of the ebook revolution and the opportunity to indie publish, which has made it possible for me to maintain creative control.

I wanted to do this project without compromise. No watering down the relationships. No mamby-pambying the politics. No scrimping on the science. I knew that wasn't going to happen within legacy publishing. Stepping out there without a safety net is terrifying - and thrilling. Now that I know I can do it, I can't envision going back.

More about all that another day. Meanwhile, hey, buy my book! We need new plumbing.

Buy The Hurricane Lover on Nook

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Do not compromise, for only the valiant can create. ~ Frank Capra

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