I mentioned yesterday that although I’ve had characters in my books face elemental challenges as you might describe them – blizzards, storms – even an earthquake, I have never mentioned fire. I recently read a story by one of my favourite authors, Nevada Barr which was about a terrible forest fire, and the main character Anna Pigeon who is a park ranger, gets caught up in one – actually in one. This is what the Amazon blurb says – and I hope it encourages you to read it if you haven’t already – very exciting:
An insatiable, unstoppable beast, the wildfire called Jackknife has already devoured 17,000 acres of California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park. A devastating force of nature, it has brought out the very best – and worst – in those sworn to defeat it.
Ranger Anna Pigeon is among the exhausted firefighters, serving as medic and spike camp security, when an abrupt weather shift sends Jackknife racing relentlessly in their direction. And when the monstrous blaze has passed, Anna emerges from her protective shelter to discover two men are dead: one a victim of the hungry flames, the other stabbed through the heart. Now, trapped in a nightmarish landscape of snow and ash, cut off from rescue by a rampaging winter storm, Anna must investigate an inexplicable homicide – as she and nine others struggle to survive the terrible rage of nature… and the murderer in their midst.
The reality of fire and its deadly and unforgiving impact on life and lives is in the news right now as poor Greece is ravaged by murderous conflagrations. People have died horrifically in the merciless inferno, businesses and homes have been ruined, property has vanished to ashes. Wild fires have been raging in Sweden, and closer to hoe – and literally closer to our former home, Saddleworth Moor has been ablaze, and Winter Hill in Lancashire.
A book I read last year which was about the danger and fear of fire in Australia, ends with what the characters throughout the whole book have been dreading – a bush fire (I hope I haven’t spoiled anything if you haven’t yet read this fantastic book) It is The Dry by Jane Harper, and this is what Amazon says:
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.
As I mentioned yesterday I have been wondering about using fire in a book; it nearly happened in my previous Radwinter book, ‘Earthquake’ when Thomas is investigating a supposed haunted hotel… I had several ‘fire’ scenes in mind but in the end they didn’t really fit and it would have been a distraction from other story line. Those ideas are still there, fermenting away at the back of my mind.
Although at present I am writing a book set in the 1950’s, I do have the next Radwinter in mind – and instead of fire this will be snow and ice., darkness and night… However, maybe if I have enough ideas, Radwinter 8 might have a few fiery scenes? Maybe? Perhaps?
Here is a link to my Radwinter stories, including my latest, Saltpans, which is available as a paperback and as an e-reader:
… and to my other novels and books: