Haven’t blogged in a long time. I’m working like a dog to get a novel on the page, through editing, and out into the world.
The first two novels were practice. I won’t give up on them, but they can be better. This third one is my passion because it is so real to me. That’s what’s fun about it.
I chose to take a short story I wrote about wildland firefighting for The Anchorage Press and turn it into a novel. How to make it different from the gazillions of firefighting novels out there? My story. My experiences. My angle. I used to be intimidated by famous authors who’ve written popular novels on the same subjects I have. All 3 novels I’ve written, someone already beat me to it. I’ve learned to say, ‘so what.’
I’m giving this novel everything I’ve learned about writing up to this point. I’ve tossed in a little romance–after all, a little more love in the world couldn’t hurt.
Another unexpected benefit is researching the wildland fire world. Some things have changed since 1992, when I worked in it with the BLM Alaska Fire Service. But not a lot. Aircraft and safety standards have improved, fire shelters and retardant chemicals have changed.
As for fires? Recent fires are burning hotter and faster. I could go into the fire science aspect of this, which I’m researching for the book, but not here (yawn). We know from recent patterns in the western states, fire will continue to be with those of us who live near fire-prone regions.
Saw the movie, “Only The Brave.” So glad I went alone, it ripped my heart out: 19 hotshots, most in their early 20s, died fighting the Yarnell fire in Arizona. I saw this movie to remind myself how we talked, how we bonded, how we put our trust in each other as a fire crew. I came away with much more, and for that, I highly recommend watching this movie. People outside of wildland firefighting don’t realize the blood, sweat, and tears that go with the job.
While my thermometer reads zero, I write about fire and the amazing people who live and work in wildland firefighting. As I write, I remember things I hadn’t thought of in years. I wonder what happened to my crew mates. For now, they are alive for me on the page.
And this is what keeps me warm this winter.
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