My current first draft WIP is set in 1816, the year without a summer, and the weather is almost another character in the book. So I figured this week I’d seek extracts from my author friends where weather becomes a plot device. Or any other natural phenomenon. If you don’t have a storm or a heat-wave, how about a volcano or a plague of locusts?
Here’s mine, from House of Thorns.
Bear walked down to the village, seeing evidence of the night’s storm on either side of him, in deeper puddles and streams, downed branches from trees, and flattened crops in the fields.
At Rose Cottage, Miss Neatham was fretting herself to flinders, though she tried not to show it. He’d seen her bite back words all morning, since he carried her downstairs and set her up in the parlour, with a book to read and strict instructions not to move. Each time he went in to ask her where to find something, or to bring her something to eat or drink, or just to check that she was following instructions, he could read the anxiety about her father on her open face. “When will you go to the village?” she did not say, but it was written clearly for him to see — a supposition she confirmed with her deep sigh of relief when he said, “The rain looks as if it is clearing. I’ll go down to the village now, Miss Neatham. I have a few things to buy, and I will check on your father.”
Miss Neatham had clearly been a provident housekeeper, for the house was fully stocked with all the staples, but they could do with some fresh bread and he’d buy more meat, too. He could not help but draw the conclusion that her financial situation took a dire turn for the worse thanks to Pelman’s intervention on his behalf.
He would have to see how the situation could be corrected. And he needed to see if Mrs Able was available for another week or so. Otherwise, Miss Neatham would go home to that horrid little hovel and put her ankle at risk by looking after the old man herself.
In the main streeet, straw had been laid on the worst mud patches, but the steep alley to Miss Neatham’s abode was scoured into deep treacherous ruts, and he kept to the sides where a few inches of relatively dry ground gave him better purchase for his boots.
The quavering voice of the old man raised in a shriek distracted him from his focus on his footing. “Help! Murder! Help!” Neatham was shouting.