Drum roll, please! Here’s my newest non-fiction title, to be released this fall by Annick Press:
When the Worst Happens is about crazy situations, and how some people manage to survive them. It explores the ways our bodies respond to emergencies, the ways our brains function (or fail to function) under duress, and the different ways individuals and groups cope with crises.
Of all the non-fiction books I’ve worked on, this has been my absolute favourite. Maybe because as a generally paranoid person, I had plenty of questions about how best to survive a disaster. When The Worst Happens gave me the perfect excuse to research my deepest fears. (Among other things, I discovered that air travel really is safe. Even when planes crash, almost everyone escapes safely. Working in hundred-year-old mines, on the other hand… not recommended.)
When I created the proposal for this book, I suggested a chapter about Arctic misadventures, a chapter about desert disasters, etc. The information about the psychology of survival was to be included in bits and pieces. But then editor extraordinaire Alison Kooistra stepped in and created a spreadsheet (really) showing how the book could be organized around psychologic themes, with four main stories told in chunks scattered throughout. So, readers could skip pages to follow the stories one at a time, OR read the chapters in order to learn about human reactions. Genius, right? And all I had to do was figure out how to read a spreadsheet.
The book also has fantastic illustrations (in my wholly unbiased opinion) by David Parkins, and my favourite graphic design ever.
I’m a wee bit excited. Feel free to join me in my ongoing happy dance. The book’s due out this fall!