August 2021 Newsletter!
Updated: Aug 10
Warning – vague spoilers for Sandusky Burning!
Sandusky Burning certainly has its share of compelling characters. But there is one that had a huge impact on the plot that you may not have even realized was a character; it is the freight trains that passed through the campground throughout the story!
Of course, the trains aren’t a singular character, there are a number of differet trains rushing through Sandusky day and night. Before you scoff at the concept of objects as characters, consider the impact of the trains on the story (pun intended 😀!).
Trains rolled past the Sandusky Shores campground relentlessly, imposing their presence on the plot throughout. The location of the tracks was disturbingly close to the campground, which triggered anxiety for many of the campers.
The trains made a significant impression on Mike, the retired Army veteran, who had to quickly devise a plan to combat the crime syndicate that infested the campground. The trains were instruments that the good guys endeavored to harness and deploy against their enemies, and perhaps served as a dark solution to a lifetime of pain and suffering for a troubled man.
In real-world Sandusky, the passing trains have their own personality. When conceiving of Sandusky Burning while staying at a campground in Sandusky, Ohio, I recognized the trains as an integral part of life in that city, an enduring symbol of Sandusky’s manufacturing history.
The tracks run about 100 yards outside of the campground (much farther away than in the novel), close enough to catch glimpses of the trains as they pass. You hear them as they roll by, blaring their horns as they approach intersections. There have been countless times that I have been stuck in my car at one of these intersections waiting for it to go by.
When I was writing Sandusky Burning, I knew that the trains had to figure into the story. They were originally just a minor part of the setting, but about midway through development, I determined that trains would play a larger role and become a very memorable part of the story. So for those of you who have yet to read the book, note of all the appearances of the train and contemplate how they may impact the dramatic ending of the novel!
Enjoy the rest of your summer (or whatever season you may be experiencing internationally)! The next newsletter will be released in early September, when autumn will be knocking at the door…
Bryan W. Conway