This is a view of Halifax in 1917, looking North toward where the Macdonald Bridge is today. The tall building in the background by the Narrows is the Acadia Sugar Refinery, then the tallest building in the Maritimes.
I’m only on Chapter 3 in Shattered, and I’m already dreading the inevitable: Someone has got to die. But how many, and who?
My characters live in St. Joseph’s Parish in Halifax’s North End, right in the middle of Richmond, the area hardest hit by the Explosion. St. Joseph’s lost 400 parishioners that day, roughly half its membership, not to mention the church itself. It wasn’t rebuilt for forty years. Not only would it be unrealistic to have every one of my characters miraculously survive, I’d feel somehow disrespectful to all the real folks who didn’t.
But who to kill? Not my hero or heroine. That isn’t the kind of book I want to write. Nolan, Liam’s older brother, with his black Irish good looks and deep love for his family? Nolan’s a harbour pilot, so he would have been out on the water that morning, right in the path of danger. His wife, Annie, with her easy smile? Their children, Drew and Emily? There were plenty of children lost, one only six days old. Then there’s Alice’s family, the O’Neills. What about Georgie, with her zest for life, or Carl, her troubled brother? He would be an easy choice, but why go with the easy choice?
You see my dilemma. One of the main reasons I read romance is the HEA, but the background of this story is all tragedy. That can make for some powerful, wrenching scenes, but it has to be balanced with a measure of hope at the end. No Cold Mountain for me! I know I’ll cry when I do the awful deed. I can only hope I do it well enough to make readers cry, too.
How do you feel about tragedy in romance?