Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Double Whammy

By Linda Thorne

Early in the morning on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast with a direct hit on the little town of Waveland. A decade later, while the tenth anniversary of Katrina was underway, my debut novel, Just Another Termination, was published. The time of its release—early morning August 29, 2015, exactly ten years after Hurricane Katrina. No connection has been made between the two events by anyone other than me, but upon recognizing this coincidence in timing, I publically shrieked the words, “Say what?”

Why? I set my book on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and completed my first draft shortly before Katrina hit. Although only in first-draft format, it was written with scenes solidified in real places, many destroyed or changed by the catastrophic storm. How would I recreate them? I couldn’t. I’d used places I’d been to many times when I lived on the Gulf Coast. My lead character’s feelings toward these venues came from my own personal experiences. The structures would have to be repaired or rebuilt and I didn’t know what they’d be like. Some would end up at new locations. I could not sidestep Katrina. Her history would have to be brought into my book. A major overhaul, unless . . .

I left my book set pre-Katrina, 2004 to 2005. It was the easiest way, and if I’d found a publisher in the next year or two, it would not be so far in the past, but it took me ten years to publish. If Hurricane Katrina had not hit that August morning a decade ago, I’d have been bringing my book current with each edit prior to publication. Without Katrina’s history, these changes would’ve been minor. Flat screen TVs would’ve replaced big screens, I-phones instead of cell phones, social media would’ve played its role.

The unexpected intrusion of this hurricane, her double whammy, changed my series to forever be set in the past. So, when I realized the uncanny coincidence of my debut novel coming out with Katrina’s tenth anniversary on the exact day in the same morning hours, I’d say my “say, what?” moment was apropos.


Just Another Termination is set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast prior to Hurricane Katrina. The characters are fictional, but many of the landmarks and structures in the story existed before Katrina barreled through the region in August of 2005, devastating the coastline. Although some of the structures survived, many did not but are preserved the way they were within these pages.

At long last, she lands a job with a good employer, but the trouble is just beginning...
Human resources manager Judy Kenagy hopes her days of running from bad bosses and guilt-ridden memories are over. But alas, she's barely settled in when a young female employee is found shot to death, spinning her new workplace into turmoil. Small-town police chief, Carl Bombardier solicits Judy's help in her role as the company's HR Manager. While working with Judy, he shares his fanatical interest in a twenty-five-year-old double homicide he believes is linked to her last and worst bad boss. To make matters worse, the trusted assistant of her monster ex-boss starts showing up, keeping the unwanted connection going. When the pesky trusted assistant turns up murdered, Judy learns there's a connection with the shooting death of the employee. She starts sleuthing at the crime scene and stumbles upon an important piece of evidence. Can she solve all of the murders with this single find? If she does, will she finally be freed from the demons of her past? Or are things not as they seem?

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2015 Killer Nashville Conference. Debut Novelist panel October 30, 2015

Moderator Kay Elam (left), Amy Ray, Janet Finsilver, and me on the right.


SJ Francis said...

Hello Linda! Great post. I knew about the book being set in Mississippi on the gulf Coast, but not all the rest. Coincidence? I don't believe in coincidences myself, but what else could it be?
I'm reading Just Another Termination so I won't say too much, except that what occurs in this book is anything but another termination.
Wishing you great success, Linda and many sales.
Keep writing, stay safe and be happy!
S.J. Francis

authorlindathorne said...

Thank you S.J. I had to note my release date was exactly the time of day (early morning) and day of the month ten years after Katrina. Toward the end of my book, Chief Bombardier tells the lead, Judy, "I always note coincidences," with the implication they may have some meaning. This may not, but I did take note of it.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

This was a most interesting post, Linda. I can imagine what a dilemma you faced at first.