Before I was a writer, I was a reader. At an early age, I discovered the joy of having an armchair adventure with my favorite detective, Trixie Belden, or that happiest of families, the Hollisters. Maybe it was then, while reading on a pleasant afternoon, that I first realized I wanted to write books, too.
What other occupation allows you to travel around the world and still be time in home for dinner? Where else can fantasies come true, be they romantic or full of dragons? Who else but writers and secret agents get to lead a double life on a regular basis?
My fifth novel, Thunder in the Night, provides an escape from the everyday. Set largely in Belize, it follows the adventures of a young journalist, Allison Belsar, as she takes a tour of the country with a group from her local zoo. She isn’t expecting danger—and she certainly isn’t expecting love—but she finds both. Together with the charming Mart Lawler, assistant director at the zoo, she foils a crime ring whose sphere of influence travels from the rain forest to her own hometown.
Researching Thunder in the Night was marvelous fun. In fact, I think it took a bit longer to write this novel than it should have because I just kept on reading more and more about this amazing and remarkable country. Thanks to the Internet, I got to fly over the rainforest and view the Blue Hole, a huge cavern sixty miles off the coast. I climbed a Mayan temple (and fell down it with Allison when someone gave her a push!) Hot sunny days led to warm tropical nights—quite a change from chilly autumn evenings here in my real world, in Wisconsin.
I hope when a reader is enjoying my novel she can feel the heat of that sun on her skin and see the view from the top of that temple. I hope she’ll relax into the arms of strong, gorgeous Mart, dancing barefoot with him on the beach under a brilliant moon. I hope her heart will pound when tension builds and Allison finds herself alone with an unlikely killer, far from safety, far from peace, far from Mart. I hope she’ll listen–and be able to hear the Thunder in the Night.
(Because my story deals with the very real crime of exotic animal smuggling, I’ll be donating a portion of the proceeds from sales to wildlife protection groups. I know Mart and Allison would approve!)
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