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?