Sunday, February 9, 2014

Five Places to Go Before...A Volcano Erupts (Again)

A ticking time bomb is a fabulously useful element for increasing the page-turning factor in your novel. For the Novel Travelist, a ticking time bomb can come in the form of a location or setting that won't be around forever. I hereby inaugurate the "Five Places to Go Before..." series, featuring threatened locations around the globe.

In this first post of the series, the threat is a volcanic eruption. Each of these sites lies beneath an active volcano, one predicted to erupt again in the near future...

Pasto, Columbia
The Las Lajas Sanctuary is a spectacular cathedral built into the side of a gloriously green mountain. But it might not be around forever, because Mt. Galeras sits right above it. See this architectural wonder in person before it is destroyed!

Las Lajas Sanctuary, Pasto, Columbia
Saint Pierre, Caribbean
Once known as "The Paris of the Caribbean," St. Pierre has already been completely obliterated once by Mount Pelee. Much of the old city has been rebuilt, so come see this lovely French community before it is gone once again.
Saint Pierre, Caribbean
 Pompeii and Herculaneum, Italy
Of course, this list would not be complete without the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum - the ticking time bomb in my novel, The Vesuvius Isotope. Another eruption of Mount Vesuvius is long overdue, and these priceless sites might not survive the next one. I love the image in this fresco from Pompeii showing Mount Vesuvius covered in green - sort of like Mount Pelee above...yikes!
Fresco of Mount Vesuvius From Pompeii
Shimbara, Japan
This glistening white castle is just one of a series of similarly constructed beautiful castles in Japan - but it might be the one most in danger. Looming above the castle is the active Mount Unzen, just one of Japan's dangerous volcanoes.
Shimbara Castle, Japan
 Seattle, Washington
Although quite a distance from Mount Rainier, Seattle lies in the path of destruction should the volcano erupt with sufficient force. It is expected that lava flow from a major eruption would pour right into the downtown area. And then, you'd be confined to the space needle replica in Las Vegas. The horror! See the real one when you can.
Seattle, Washington
The impending eruption of Mount Vesuvius lends a ticking time bomb to the action in The Vesuvius Isotope, the best-selling debut novel by Kristen Elise. Buy The Vesuvius Isotope on Amazon.

When her Nobel laureate husband is murdered, biologist Katrina Stone can no longer ignore the secrecy that increasingly pervaded his behavior in recent weeks. Her search for answers leads to a two-thousand-year-old medical mystery and the esoteric life of one of history’s most enigmatic women. Following the trail forged by her late husband, Katrina must separate truth from legend as she chases medicine from ancient Italy and Egypt to a clandestine modern-day war. Her quest will reveal a legacy of greed and murder and resurrect an ancient plague, introducing it into the twenty-first century.

Kristen Elise, Ph.D. is a drug discovery biologist. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, stepson, and three canine children. 


  1. I love the cathedral in Columbia and want to write a haunted tale taking place within it. Adding the ticking time bomb of a volcano eruption is a great motive to escape the cathedral, aside from all the creepy things that might be happening. Great post - thanks so much.

    1. I love that cathedral too! And yes, a ticking time bomb volcanic eruption is...inspired! LOL