Are you ready? Ready for what?

I have an earthquake app on my iPad. That’s why I can tell you that within the past twenty-four hours there have been eight earthquakes within 1,050 kilometres (652 miles) of Vancouver, BC. From Alaska to Northern California they ranged from magnitude 2.5 to 4.5. Some quakes have happened offshore but most were on land.

Every time a quake registers somewhere on the globe, my iPad chimes an alert. Sometimes the proximity to where I am is scary but having information makes me feel a little bit more in control, not that I can do anything about it.

I use Quakes – Earthquake Notifications by TAWCS to monitor this information and watch the updates with great, if a little morbid, interest. There are a lot of other earthquake applications out there too, along with apps that will alert you to tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes and just plain ‘severe weather.’ I haven’t investigated those other apps as they aren’t the focus of my novel but it makes me wonder what disaster do we prepare for?

Are you disaster-ready? What external threat worries you the most?

In the beginning

I'm terrified of earthquakes. I grew up in Victoria BC where we experienced an occasional temblor or two, frequently enough to remind us how vulnerable we were.

When I moved to Australia, I put that worry behind me. Instead I learned to respect the terrible might of bushfires. Our house was built on a ridge, looking down over 10,000 acres of national park. I became a volunteer firefighter (CFU) and learned to sleep with one ear open during bushfire season.

Then I moved back to Canada and my husband and I bought a house on the side of Mount Fromme. We now live perched on top of the Pacific Ring of Fire. It's not a matter of if a major quake will ever shake the Pacific Northwest, it's a question of when. Geological time is vast, though, and it may not happen for another thousand years.

Or it could happen today, as I sit here typing. I started thinking that way a couple of years ago and that's when the idea for my novel Lockdown was born. I wanted to go some place that really frightened me and in writing this book, I found it.

My novel will be released by Great Plains Publishing early in 2014 and until then, I'm going to explore my fascination with earthquakes on this blog.

Welcome to my nightmare.

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Photo: Christchurch, March 2011 by BluesandViews