Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Creature Comforts by Rula Sinara

When I was eight, I wanted to grow up to be Jane Goodall. Well, I wanted to be The Bionic Woman too, but chimp expert seemed like a more realistic goal. Now a Bionic Jane…hmmm. That would be something. Talk about my ultimate heroine.

However, my love of animals wasn’t limited to primates. My childhood was filled with pets, from dogs and cats to more unusual critters…like the African chameleon I ‘wore’ to school once. There’s nothing like the look on a teacher’s face when she realizes the big green bow on your head has eyes—that move. LOL. Hey. I didn't want my chameleon to get lonely.

My intentions were good…just as they were in my teens, when I gave CPR to a frog I found in our swimming pool. Okay, it was modified CPR, which is probably why he never turned into prince charming, though he did recover enough to hop happily away…towards a grassy area we referred to as ‘snake valley’.

You see, even with the best intentions, sometimes the choices we make or actions we take can lead to hurt and regret, something both the hero and heroine in my first Heartwarming, The Promise of Rain (Jan 2014) discover the hard way.

The Promise of Rain is set primarily at a remote camp in Kenya’s Serengeti. I haven’t been specifically to Kenya, but I have had the incredible experience of living in Africa and even camping in the Sahara. I grew up devouring just about every wildlife documentary on TV there was, many on the formidable Serengeti and its diverse wildlife. It was no surprise that I went on to earn a degree in biology. I've also had opportunities like, but not limited to, trekking through the Darien jungle of Panama or shadowing a zoo veterinarian for several years, as she worked to breed endangered species. Let me tell you, soothing a rhino with a scratch behind the ear or bottle feeding a baby dik dik  is a breathtaking experience for an animal lover.

But more breathtaking (to me), is the passion my heroine, a wildlife veterinarian, has for rescuing orphaned baby elephants and the soul deep comfort she gets from nurturing both the animals around her and her four year old daughter, while protecting herself from heartbreak.

I find comfort in animals and nature. They've always been a part of my life, and I suspect they’ll find their way into my books ;). I hope I do them both justice.

What about you? Any favorite animals or ‘wild’ experiences?

19 comments:

  1. Rula! Your book sounds as exotic and exciting as it seems your life has been. All I know of elephants is what I've seen on television, but I love their familial bond and the way they help each other. The stories of an almost human connection are remarkable. The 'wildest' residents of my home are a pair of Tabby cats who behave as though they have genetic memory of stalking prey in the jungle. Actually, I think I do, too. In moments of challenge, I imagine I'm Xena, Warrior Princess. (A little long in the tooth but still heroic!) Am looking forward to reading THE PROMISE OF RAIN.

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  2. Hi Xena! I have a great image. Move over Tabby cats ;).

    Thanks for your kind words, Muriel. Of course, most of my travels were from before I had my kids, but boys make life exciting too :). I've always loved elephants. As you said, they have strong maternal instincts, tight family bonds and they mourn their lost loved ones. They're majestic and incredible in so many ways. Of course, their place is in the wild, so that's one pet I can't have at home, LOL. I think hubby might draw the line at that one ;).

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  3. Hi Rula!

    Great post! When my mom and I went to Las Vegas for her birthday a few years ago, we were able to bottle feed baby lions-it was incredible! Then a few years ago, while I was working in advertising sales, I met a man who had a pet lion-he had built an outdoor habitat for him, but the lion was so 'tame' that he would play in their backyard with the man's kids, and ride in the bed of his truck with him...it was incredible. I'm not sure it was really the safest thing for the family or the healthiest environment for the lion, but it was definitely unique.

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    1. Wow, Jennifer! Bottle feeding baby lions would make for one memorable experience!

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  4. Rula, your life has truly been as exotic as your name. The closest I've been to wild animals was a mama bobcat and twin kittens who parked in our back yard in Tucson for over two days before moving on. I fed the birds and she and her babies devoured quite a few before they left. I was sad about that, but animal hierarchy and all. Can't wait to read your book. My kids and grands love the zoo and that's where I've seen elephants. There was an old movie I loved that had sad parts, called The Elephant Walk. It's great that you did follow your desire to help animals.

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    1. Thanks, Roz! I'd say a bobcat family in your backyard is pretty close to nature! I love old movies...and Elizabeth Taylor...but I don't recall watching that one. I'll need to rent it!

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    2. Just weighing in to say I love ELEPHANT WALK! Elizabeth Taylor at her most beautiful, and Dana Andrews is very good. (do you youngsters even know who he is?)

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  5. Rula, you and I are definitely going to be friends. My August release, Katie's Rescue, is about an animal habitat. The only reason they don't have elephants is because they can't afford the upkeep. Mine focuses around a black panther (really a leopard). Right now I'm typing while I face the wall because my cat is in front of my computer screen. I grew up in the city, but had rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, birds, turtles, hamsters, fish. I almost talked my dad into a horse (Mom said no; we lived in the middle of the city). But, then, I almost talked him into a mini bike (Mom said no and reminded him about my lead foot).

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    1. Hey Pamela! I saw that about your book and can't wait to read it. I love animals in stories :). Sounds like, city or not, you've had your share of pets! :)

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  6. I love watching wildlife shows and taking hikes where I get a glimpse of some. I would love to travel to Africa and envy you the adventures that you've had. I can't wait to read your book. It sounds amazing. My favorite animals are the more domestic kind, however. I'm a dog and cat lover and have my cavalier king cocker spaniel snuggled up to me as I'm typing :)Great post, Rula!!

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    1. Thanks, Karen! I still love watching those shows, and now I get to share them with my boys. They think it's cool that mom loves frogs, lizards and snakes lol.

      I had a cocker spaniel in high school! Great, lovable dogs.

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  7. I love camels. Thankfully, my neighbor has two and I'm allowed to play with them. It's not a wild animal, but an exotic. Wild animal... my poodle when it's bath time.

    Aimée

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    1. ...poodle at bathtime.

      Too funny, Aimee! I have 2 labradoodles, so I can imagine LOL.

      I love camels too. One of my boys is obsessed with them. He's saving up his money to help save the Bactrian Camel (endangered) and he collects camel everything. I did go on a few camel rides in the Sahara...not that comfortable, but I sure wouldn't mind having those eyelashes!

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  8. Hi, Rula,
    Can't wait to read your book. I haven't grown out of wildlife documentaries, so I understand your love of the wild and all its creatures.

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  9. J.L.! It's so great to see you here! I know the flora and fauna of Jamaica are unbelievable. You're so lucky. That's one place I really want to visit. Thanks so much for visiting me over here :).

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  10. Rula, your book sounds so much fun! I can't wait to get it.

    My love for animals is more of the domestic nature: dogs and cats. But my stepson is studying to be a veterinarian tech with the hopes of eventually being a marine biologist. His love for animals, especially aquatic, is amazing.

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  11. Hey Syndi! Thanks :) and your stepson sounds like a really cool guy. Marine biology is a fascinating area of study. I grew up on a beach and love everything about that ecosystem. Next to elephants, I have to say I absolutely adore sea turtles.

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  12. Oh, very cool and what a unique setting!

    My sister-in-law has been on an African safari and said it was an awesome experience!

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  13. Hey Jennifer! Great seeing you over here :). I bet she had the time of her life!

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