Sunday, July 27, 2008


So I'm researching tanker explosions for my next novel. How's that for an opening blog line? Mmmm... tanker explosions. Very interesting. Or not. Does the premise of a tanker explosion make you want to read book #4? :)

You may or may not remember this, but a year ago our small town experienced what could have been a major disaster. (You can read the original post here.) A semi driver was pumping ethanol from a train car into his eighteen-wheeler when a spark of static from his shirt ignited the gas fumes. Within seconds, the entire tanker was engulfed in flames and moments later a series of explosions rocked the town. 2,000 people were evacuated from their homes as fire crews worked to prevent the remaining tankers from exploding. Scary stuff. Anyway, back then I remember thinking: this would make a great story! And look at me now: it's a year later and this incident is finding it's way into my fourth book. Though I have other ideas for books, this is the one that is gripping me now--I have to write it.

So far, I can't believe what I'm learning. Who knew ethanol production was so dangerous? In the little research I've done, I've been shocked by the amount of explosions at both ethanol plants and throughout the distribution process. Apparently the politics of ethanol production extends beyond it's arguable status as a "green" energy source. Yeeps. I just wanted to write a good book, not a political manifesto... Maybe I should have a tornado hit the town instead. Is a natural disaster less potentially offensive?

Nah, I think I'll keep researching. Hopefully my "worst case scenario" plot will exist only on paper and never in real life. Though the towns that experienced what you see below are probably thinking the same thing I am: what about next time???

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