Just got back from a long weekend in Florida. Terrific trip but the airports were nuts. One cancelled flight due to Niko, one delay to address a maintenance issue, another due to lightning in a connecting city… so Ann’s weather-related guest post is particularly timely. Stay safe, everyone!
“Weather is a potent element in fiction.”
I’m a four-season gal, myself. I like cold winters, balmy springs where things are coming alive again, and long, languid falls with that crispness in the air that promises winter is just around the corner. The only season I’m not crazy about is summer. I’ve never liked heat much, so thirteen years ago we moved to the mountains. The first few years were great, but the advent of climate change has brought ninety degree days to the High Sierra. I’m not terribly pleased about that, but there’s not much I can do, either. One good thing is that at eight thousand feet elevation where I live, it always cools off at night.
Weather is a potent element in fiction. It can actually be a character in its own right. I’ve written some books where the weather was one of the antagonists. Quite aside from that, there’s something delightful about misty, foggy moorlands. Or rainy, blustery days. Real people have to deal with weather, so story characters should have to as well. It makes the book seem more real, at least to me.
Writing convincingly about weather is a challenge. After all, how many ways can you describe a blizzard? It turns out, there are a whole bunch of them. And what a wonderful opportunity to show the reader watery eyes, shivers, frosty whiskers, and half-frozen fingers and toes. It’s impossible to write a whole book from a “show” perspective, plus it would be exhausting to read. But there are tricks that can make a manuscript come alive to a reader’s senses. Weather is one of them. Smell is another. The world smells different after a winter rain than it does after a gentle spring shower. Writers who pay attention to their surroundings come up with the best descriptions of how their characters react to elements in their environments. Maybe it’s clichéd, but Margaret Mitchell’s description of Atlanta burning in Gone With the Wind is amazing. I could almost smell the smoke reading it as a thirteen year old long after lights-out by flashlight under the covers.
I’m not quite old enough to remember when families gathered around the radio, because TV either hadn’t been invented, or was in its infancy. I have, however, listened to some old radio programs like Mystery Theater. Radio used a lot of sound effects, many of them weather-related. There was the patter of rain, the whoosh of wind, and people huffing and puffing against a storm in progress.
How about you? What’s your favorite season and why would you pick that one? Do you have a favorite book where the weather played a significant role?
More about Ann
Ann Gimpel is a USA Today bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients. Now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 45 books to date, with several more planned for 2017 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren, and wolf hybrids round out her family.
More about Ann’s Latest Release
Edge of Night
Here’s a roadmap to Edge of Night. Welcome to an eclectic collection of nine short stories.
You’ve done time at the edge of night. Nail-biting, stomach-churning time filled with hissing snarls, menacing growls, the whoosh of unnatural wings, and the flash of hellfire. Time that lasts forever, but is over within seconds because time becomes unpredictable in places like that. You don’t want to stay, but it’s too fascinating—in a grisly, macabre, toe-curling kind of way—to turn your back on.
You recognize it, though. The place just at the threshold of darkness where it’s not quite safe anymore. Evil broke its bounds at the edge of night, or maybe it always ran free and we’ve been deluding ourselves all along.
Join me for nine supernatural tales. Monsters, demons, gods—fallen and otherwise—ghosts, aliens. A touch of science fiction. More than a splash of romance. From magical lands to a chilling glance into the past, Edge of Night has something to tempt everyone. Everyone who craves danger, that is. It takes guts to read the stuff woven into nightmares.
It’s a tough job, but you’re up to it.
Welcome to my world. A world where magic holds court and the dude next door just might be a demon. Or a shifter. Or an alien.
Thank you for guest blogging today, Ann!