Inkwell Guest: William Brian Johnson on A Dark and Stormy Night
Hey, all. Today, I’m hosting author William Brian Johnson. Don’t forget to leave a comment to say hi and let him know you were here!
by William Brian Johnson
When reading Madelyn L. Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” the first words were “It was a dark and stormy night.” While the kids in the novel bunkered down for a hurricane, I groaned at one of the most overused clichés, one so overused there’s a contest about it. Needless to say, storms are my muse. Nothing pulls me out of the house faster than a supercell building nearby. With that being said, I have to weigh my two hobbies carefully.
In a recent interview, someone asked why I do the two hobbies. Storm chasing and writing don’t always go together but each has their benefits. Being a horror writer, I’ve studied some of the unsettling things in life. In using the supernatural, sometimes the protagonist is outclassed to a uniquely powerful foe. Standing out in a field and realizing that a storm you’re watching is now coming at you can generate these feelings. You’re going up against something unbeatable and you may be the one cleaning up the mess. There was one storm that I watched for a couple hours with a developed wall cloud, that produced funnels (a tornado-like rotating column of air that doesn’t touch the ground), but not a tornado. The storm followed east to where I was, then a few miles away from my location took a hard turn, and headed for my house a couple miles away. I ran home, got everyone in the basement, and stood out on the deck as it passed within a mile from my house. It generated a tornado that did touch down and hit a town within eight miles from our location. It’s that fear, that moment of “Oh, crap” that you have to generate for your readers. Even though they may be safe at home reading, you want to make them shut all the closet doors and check under the bed.
Two of my stories out now, “The Ballad of Mercy Tyler” and “Hell to Pay” both have storms significant to the plot of the story. I promise no “dark and stormy night” intro, but read them and know what it’s like to be in the heart of a storm.
The Ballad of Mercy Tyler is available through Smashwords and is free. Click here.
Hell to Pay is available through Amazon. Click here.