Catching Fire

It seems every part of Australia is alight with bushfires this summer. I’ve lost count of how many homes and lives have been lost. It’s a tragedy beyond words.

Ever since I was a small child, I’ve had a deathly fear of fire. For many years, before going to bed I would pack up my toys and have them ready by the door in case I had to escape quickly from a fire that night. I was terrified our house would burn down.

The nightmares didn’t help either. I can still remember my reoccurring dream where our house really did burn down and we had to run for our lives. I had the dream so many times I was certain it was actually going to happen.

Thankfully, it didn’t. But I still have that fear. I’m extra cautious around any fire or things that could spark a fire. I accidently set my oven on fire once and completely freaked out (FYI – I’m not a good cook, in case you can’t tell). It’s such an uncontrollable force that we humans really are powerless against. Our heroic fire fighters can only do so much. And our fire fighters really are heroes.

So with this phobia in mind, I still don’t know why my first novel, Ashes to Ashes, is centred around a house fire. Even the name is fire related. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I made the poor girl lose everything – including her parents – in a horrible fire. It was like facing my worst fear.

I think my character Jasmine handles it better than I would have. But, then again, she didn’t have a phobia about fire. Jasmine tried to leave it in her past and move on. She didn’t allow it to define her as a person. It was something terrible that happened but she was determined that it wouldn’t affect her future. It’s just a pity the past always comes back to haunt you.

So for anyone affected by bushfires this summer, my thoughts are with you. For everyone else, let’s band together and make sure they are taken care of. To the people starting the fires, you are the worst of the worst. Let’s give a round of applause to our fire fighters, they will always be the greatest heroes in my book.

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