Author Michael Tougias likes to focus on real life adventure stories, particularly tales of disaster and rescue. One of his books, The Finest Hours, is based on what is often considered the most difficult rescue missions the U.S. Coast Guard ever attempted. His most recent book, A Storm Too Soon, recounts the journey of survival three men experienced after a northeaster ripped their boat in half 200 miles off the coast of the Carolinas in 2007.

“I find it fascinating how certain people can do something the rest of us could never do, that is, making the right decisions to survive,” Mr. Tougias said. To create his books, the author devotes years of research and conducts hundreds of interviews. The system works. The Finest Hours is being made into a movie by the Walt Disney Company and spearheaded by Jim Whitaker, the producer of Apollo 13 and Cinderella Man.

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, Mr. Tougias will give a talk at the Vineyard Haven Public Library. But this will not be just another reading with a Q&A afterwards. Mr. Tougias prefers dramatic slide presentations. For the audience it will be like, “watching a movie, with me telling them the behind the scenes action and research. Most of the slides were taken during the storm, during the rescue.”

These presentations are a specialty of Mr. Tougias, and he uses them not only to paint a picture of the events, but to put the audience in the action. These disasters and rescues are about decision making, he said.

“I saw a video of the rescuers in a tiny life raft out in these 80-foot waves and it just took my breath away,” he said. “How could anyone have survived?”

Mr. Tougias’ talk on Tuesday will focus on both A Storm Too Soon and The Finest Hours, in addition to the upcoming film based on this book. The filming will take place on Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, potentially beginning this year, he said. The story follows the 1952 northeaster that ravaged two oil tankers off the coast of Cape Cod, and Coast Guard’s subsequent rescue of the oil workers.

“I have written one novel,” Mr. Tougias said. “I think writing books like this are more difficult. You are going for accuracy, and you have so much information, you have to choose what to leave out. But these are the kinds of stories I love, with action that pulls you along for the ride.”

Michael Tougias will give a presentation at the Vineyard Haven Public Library on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. For more information on Mr. Tougias and his books, visit