It is a warm spring day. Graduation just ended. Then suddenly, “This is a tornado warning, in effect for Jasper and Newton Counties…”
It’s May 22, 2011. The deadliest, most damaging tornado in 50 years is about to tear into Joplin, Missouri.
Written from multiple points of view, D. Ed. Hoggatt’s novel will tug at the reader’s emotions and spirit. Join Carly, Madison, Hailey, Mark, and William on their incredible journey…
In this nearly 300-page book, I explore the tornado that swept through Joplin on May 22, 2011. I wrote the book in first person, but with five people telling their own version of what is happening. I also utilized present-tense voices in order to draw the reader into the situation. (A preview is available on my Hoggatt the Author site.)
I have read parts of the story in class, in order to get students to see the difference between editing and revising. I show them where I have deleted entire chapters, rearranged the timeline, and added or removed characters to help the story flow better.
The first narrator is a high school junior named Carly. She just watched her boyfriend pick up his diploma at graduation, and she is about to drive home, when she hears the storm sirens.
Another character is her friend Madison. Madison is sort of the anti-Carly and has a completely different outlook on life. She considers the sirens to be just another overreaction by the weather people.
A ten-year-old girl named Hailey is at home when the power goes out. Her family hunkers down in the hallway of their house as she worries about her dad getting home safely from Wal-Mart.
A boy from Carl Junction, William, rides in a pickup truck with his grandfather behind the wheel, when he spots a lump lying in a nearby ditch. Considering the storm that just passed, he wonders if the lump might be a storm victim.
The fifth character, Mark, is a young paramedic who takes interest in two boys who have suddenly been thrust into a very imperfect world.
In the background is the account of one church's response to the tragedy. The church's building provides a central hub for many of he characters as they interact with members of the community and volunteers from outside of Joplin.
This is a story that has not been widely told. It is a fictionalize version of the many accounts I myself witnessed and was a part of.
I still have some work to do, but hopefully I will be able to make it available for purchase within the next few weeks. I hope, through my own enthusiasm for the art of writing, I can instill enthusiasm in my students.