Wednesday, July 17, 2013

realism in a fictional story

When I wrote my romantic suspense Hostage Heart about a Louisiana gal who came to New York City to try to earn money to help her parents get their lives and business back on track after devastating hurricanes, I was living vicariously through stories my husband told me - Hubby was part of a federal medical team that provided assistance to the people of New Orleans and surrounding areas after Katrina and Rita.
Last fall though, I lived it. Superstorm Sandy hit the Hudson Valley with devastating winds, rain and water surges. The waterfront town I live in literally saw homes floating away. And while I know from personal experience (Florida in 1969, the year of Hurricane Camille) that the storm could have been far worse, the folks who lost homes, our community that lived without power, and first responders who sacrificed their comfort and safety to help will never forget Sandy's impact.

I was also a part of our town's emergency shelter which provided a temporary home to dozens of town residents at our local ambulance corps building. Some inhabitants left their homes before the brunt of the storm on the advice of our local town government, some were brought to the shelter after being rescued by volunteer ambulance corps and fire department members. We were lucky to have a new, large building with a running generator. As a shelter volunteer I lived in that building for a week alongside people who came in shell-shocked and scared; I watched as family members were part of rescue crews who were out during the height of the storm. We all ate meals together, talked together and sometimes cried together. This experience will live in my memories and heart forever.

Another shelter volunteer wrote about our efforts as part of an effort to keep the public informed and help to raise funds to help people get their lives back together...

What We’ve Been Doing the Past Week: 
Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts for

Stony Point & North Rockland

I added a few thank-you's to others who helped as well here

I recently re-read my novel Hostage Heart in anticipation of the soon-to-be released audio-book version and even this author has to admit the emotional impact of personal experience resonates even more.

When I listened to my husband's stories of the people he met in the month and a half he was stationed down in Louisiana, I noticed the glimmer in his eyes as he remembered and admired the survivors and their strength. Personally seeing the faces of people who came into our ambulance building, some clutching few possessions, some clutching loved pets, and all determined to survive and rebuild now puts a glimmer in my eyes as I remember.

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