It took me about four years to write my first novel, Nuclear Romance. For a long time the story, which is about people living in the shadow of an aging nuclear power plant, was in my head. At the same time, I was regularly reporting on the local nuclear power plant for a major newspaper and the story line of each news report would collide with book’s story line, rendering it to swing like an energized pendulum, boomeranging off the latest nuclear event, changing the book at each turn. Finally the characters began to take hold, forming and re-forming until they had distinct voices, individual body language; they fell in love when they weren’t supposed to, got angry, sad, cried and laughed.
As news stories broke about the nuclear disaster in Fukushima last year, I had to weave the unpredictable and fanciful story lines of my book with the raw, realism of the news. Sometimes it was like mixing oil and water. Could I write a credible story that poses a dire future of a nuclear accidents and catastrophes as a backdrop so it wouldn’t distract from my characters? Was the story’s action being dictated by the deteriorating nuclear industry and the growing chance for dangerous mishaps or were the characters driving the story? Or both?
If you believe that art imitates life, then you’ll understand how I ultimately balanced out the story. At the same time as Fukushima , print newspapers were firing and laying off writers by the hundreds because the newspaper companies couldn’t compete with the Internet, the sinking economy and the rising costs of print. This was also true of the paper I worked five years for, the New York Daily News, on whose pages I reported exclusively about Indian Point, my neighboring, aging nuclear power plant some 24 miles outside of New York City . The fact that news print was losing readers to the Internet became part of my story: it allows the protagonist, a news writer, to survive with a substantial Internet following for his investigative reporting on nuclear power, and, most importantly, he happily ends up with the woman, his clandestine partner, who he could now openly show his feelings.
About Abby Luby:
Abby Luby is a freelance journalist who, for over ten years, has covered nuclear power, particularly issues surrounding the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York. Her articles have appeared in The New York Daily News, The Villager, The Westchester Guardian, The Real Deal, SolveClimateNews, The North County News and the Record Review. She also writes for the Poughkeepsie Journal, The Stamford Advocate/Greenwich Time, Valley Table Magazine, Roll Magazine, Hearst publications HealthyLivingCT, Living@HomeCT covering news, art, food and health. She teaches writing and literature at Marist College.Link(s):
Nuclear Romance by Abby Luby
About Nuclear Romance:
In Nuclear Romance, a debut novel by New York journalist and writer Abby Luby, the tragic death of a 7-year old girl – after swimming at a beach across from a nuclear power plant – sets off a chain of events that involve a sports journalist, an anti-nuclear activist, a grieving mother and her son.A young woman reporter falls prey to a callous plant executive whose job depends on keeping the multi-billion dollar nuclear corporation viable. Set in the US Northeast, the terrifying story that unravels the cause of the girl’s death coincides with growing local anti-nuclear sentiment. The tension escalates after highly radioactive steam escapes from the plant, forcing a mass evacuation.Source: Info in the About Nuclear Romance was taken from the press release for the virtual book tour.
This novel grips readers’ imaginations with the tension and fear that surround many of today’s nuclear power plants, especially powerful in the aftermath ofJapan’s recent and still unfolding nuclear disaster.