I'm slowly archiving posts I wrote for other blogs. Here is a blog post I wrote for the now defunct StoryBlog in April 2013.
If you were to check out the cover of my new book, SHINE:
… or watch the book trailer -
You would quickly realize that there is a weather vibe going on. Specifically: RAIN.
It took me three years to write SHINE – and while in that time, characters and plot and motivation changed constantly, there was one thing that never did – the setting.
SHINE takes place on an island called Mirasol where it never stops raining.
I’d been thinking about rain a lot because back in the Philippines, there had been a series of terrible floods, worse than the worst floods we regularly experience.
Large parts of Manila had been swallowed by water, my mother’s piano floated at the bottom of the stairs, bumping up against my brother’s fridge, and another brother watched from his fourth story apartment as roads and cars and houses and animals disappeared under the thick grey flood. I had never realized how disaster-prone the Philippines was until I moved to disaster-resistant London.
Rain and Flood in the Philippines
My forever favourite of Bradbury’s ouvre is All Summer in a Day – a story set on rainswept Venus where children grow up knowing only wet weather. When a girl born on Earth shows up, they despise her for remembering what sunshine felt like. Every seven years, the sun shone for just an hour – the hour was fast approaching, and they hated the Earth-born girl all the more for the way she stood so separate from them, KNOWING.
And if this was the way life was forever, what did it do to those who lived it? They may have yearned for change but in that yearning there was fear too … a fear of the unknown.
This past month, it’s been interesting to watch reactions to the UK’s unexpected summer of sun.
There was joy in many quarters, but there was also resistance and irritation. Too hot! The complaining that inundated social media left people outside the UK puzzled and perplexed.
In SHINE my characters cling to the rain. It’s a comfort, a constant, a steady drip-drip that nobody wants to turn off because the alternative might be unbearable. They live in a world where the story is fixed, and any deviation might lead to danger. The island they live in is a crucible, a trap, a prison.
There’s nothing like putting a bunch of characters into a prison. Some of them will want to get out. The ones who don’t want to escape will have to stand and fight. This is the stuff of a good story!