Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hurricane watch

Every place on earth has its unique weather woes. In North Carolina, we have hurricanes.

Each year, from June to November, the Atlantic hurricane season cranks up.  We've made it all the way to July before having our first named storm.

Arthur is on his way. We expect him to brush the North Carolina coast Thursday afternoon.  He is expected to remain a Category 1 hurricane (bad but not horrific.)  North Carolinians live through so many hurricanes that we really do know how to respond to them. We remain respectful and ready.

However, send us a centimeter of snow—and we will fall apart.

When I wrote Whisper Falls, I added a scene late in the book where my hero Mark is monitoring the status of a "Cat 1" hurricane. His thoughts are almost bored. No big deal. Big tropical storms happen here as much as big snow storms happen in the northern regions of the US.

But to my editors? Mark's attitude was surprising. They live in New England. They had just suffered through a rare-to-them hurricane. It had been devastating in a way they hadn't experienced in 50 years.  They wanted me to change how that scene was written.

And so I did, but not to change his attitude. His response was correct for this area. However, I did have him think through it in a different way—so that people not often exposed to our weather patterns could understand why.

It was important to my editors for Mark to be sensitive, and it was important to me for him to be honest.  I rewrote the scene to achieve both.

We are hunkering down here in North Carolina, awaiting Arthur, and preparing for the aftermath.  The weather will be beautiful on the coast this Friday. The sand will be a mess. And we'll roll up our sleeves and get to work.

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