Essay–Flames and Summer
Last night, I started working on Flames again. Doing my best to finish this novel. For some reason, it’s getting in the way of Outbreak, so I might as well just get it done.
One thing that may have kept this book from being finished earlier in May was the change in the weather. Flames is set during an outrageous heatwave/drought in Texas. In May of this year, we had record rainfall that erased nearly 4 years of drought. Writing the story was more difficult because I’d forgotten the ridiculous toll of walking outside into a furnace.
Now it’s August 2015 and we are once again in the grips of a heatwave the likes of which is the nastiest I’ve ever lived through. And I’ve lived in the Houston area most of my life. I’m telling you, this one is scary.
Anyway, I’ve been lost for the last several days trying to get my bearings while we prepare Daemons of Garaaga for production. Outbreak just didn’t seem to be the book I needed to work on. And I fought like hell to do it anyway. But finally, I gave in. Playing disc golf on Saturday through record heat, getting a heat stroke, and remembering what it feels like to vibrate with the sun’s merciless rays, somehow brought the book back into focus.
Those that have read my previous tales know that weather plays a big part. It shapes the characters and the world around them. Its presence is best described as looming and ominous. And it’s not always a cataclysmic event. But it’s there.
For reasons that will become clear in the novel, the heat of a scorching sun and a populace suffering in its grip is an important character. It shapes nearly everything. Somehow I forgot about that.
Now that I am once again watching water restrictions come into play, pine trees dying in droves, and grass withering into crunchy yellow remnants of verdant green, Flames is back in my skull and, pardon the pun, burning to be finished. And I’m burning with it. For fans of The Black? Don’t worry. My priority is to have that book published by the end of the year. But for now, I need to go deal with a different monster in the glorious, soul-sucking furnace of summer.