I had the pleasure to speak with a reader of my novel “High Ground” recently who said, “you seem to have done a lot of research into the tech stuff in your book.” Yes, obsessively so, but not for the reason you might think. I needed a plausible yet previously unforeseen threat for my main protagonist, the lonely and reviled Miss Esther Brandt, living behind the fences guarded by an alarmed, stone lion..
The jury may be out scientifically on whether electromagnetic radiation (EMR) hypersensitivity in humans is real or imagined. It is NOT for those affected, and for me the question really is, what is it these people are feeling? Is it what they believe it to be, or something else as yet unknown?
So I created my central character, Esther Brandt, to be someone who is educated, well-read, hated, lonely and alone with her thoughts, who absolutely believes she is an EMR hypersensitive. Her father built the mills that ground this little town into dust before leaving the country in the 1960’s, leaving the town and its people to dry up and blow away. I put her in a place when EMR has not been a part of her youth and young adulthood much at all, coastal, rural Maine. Then I brought in the boogie man, a laser weapons development company needing a site affording out-of-the-way, easy access to the North Atlantic for live testing of their prototype.
Add Margaret Haart, a 40-something woman, recently betrayed by her husband, who just lost her father in an accident and has come to Maine to collect his dog and his belongings. Margaret finds Esther alone in the mansion nearby her father’s home and is horrified by her mental state and the dilapidated condition of her once-grand home. She identifies with Esther’s loneliness and sense on abandonment and is angered by the town’s apparent unwillingness to help, because of Esther’s family name.
By the way, during the second World War, Maine faced the very real threat of German U-boats dropping and picking up English-speaking spies along its jagged, craggy 3,200 miles of coast and therefore had naval air stations set up to launch anti-submarine aircraft. One such decommissioned air field is in the blueberry barrens at the top of the hill behind the Brandt family mansion in Leitrim, my tiny fictional coastal community. An air field now in use by a company which needs ready access to the north Atlantic for a live-fire test of its new high-powered airborne laser weapon.
To read free sample chapters of “High Ground” click on the link below.