Due to the San Andreas fault, and the Hayward and San Jacinto faults, San Francisco had always been prone to earthquakes. The city suffered countless tremors each year as the plates constantly shifted against each other and stress built up, and still does. But nothing of this magnitude had been experienced for almost half a century before 1906. Strict codes on construction had been put into place. Sadly it wasn’t enough to save them.
Even more devastating than the earthquake itself was the fire that followed which ruptured gas mains, destroyed approximately 25,000 buildings, and 3000 lives were lost.
In this short extract from The Promise we see Georgia attempting to escape and save the lives of her mother and sister.
I began to research the earthquake following a wonderful holiday we’d enjoyed in the town. I discovered that people did strange things in the face of disaster, such as marry in haste, or commit atrocities. Life goes on, babies are still born even as people are dying. And keeping track of your loved ones when the world is falling about your ears could not have been easy.
It was with these thoughts in mind that I began to dream up the plot of The Promise. I have set part of the story some fifty or so years on, in post war Lakeland where Chrissie is struggling to understand why she has no contact with her grandmother, and what is the big family secret that her mother refuses to reveal.