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Deadly Disasters

There have been many historical events which have changed us as a society, altered our perception of the world in which we live. Many of these are the result of man’s temporary insanity… wars, mass murders, hate crimes, genocides (not including zombie attacks here, although they seem to be all the rage these days . These are the product of evil-doers, whose uncontrolled rage result in tragic loss of life and alter our sense of security. But sometimes, they occur naturally. Volcanos, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes come to mind. And they too shake us to the core, rendering us helpless as Mother Nature releases her fury, leaving death and destruction in her wake.

Today marks the 160th anniversary of the Last Island Hurricane, one of the first recorded natural disasters because of the massive loss of life and property. It changed the topography of the island, leaving it bisected, smaller, vulnerable. Today, it barely exists. But if there is good to come from these moments, it is that it has raised awareness and created a need for early warnings. The scientific community often responds to such a need to guard the public welfare, studying cause and effect, to help us understand our world more clearly. Today, meteorologists and geologists work tirelessly to monitor disturbances in the earth’s patterns, serving as sentinels, helping to keep us informed and safe.

But as a writer, I am ever-mindful that there is always the human element, the story behind what happens as a result of these times: the family, who has lost everything; the lovers, who are separated by death; the heroes, who risk their own lives to save others. These fascinate me (and others, I think). The ruins at Pompeii, for example, draw visitors from all over the world, who stand in wide-eyed wonder at the remanents , the fragments left behind. We imagine the people who endured that terrible time and marvel at the horror. Like a train wreck, we want to look away, but can’t, fascinated by the picture it paints.

And it was this same idea that motivated me to write Angelique’s Storm, a fictionalized account of the Last Island hurricane. Stay tuned: I am working on the sequel. It is called Angelique’s War. And this time, I get to explore the consequences of a man-made disaster on the characters. I have become engrossed in the research as I enter this make believe world which meshes the real with the fiction. I hope that you will find it interesting, too.

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