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Thursday, April 24, 2014

TRAVEL IN THE AMAZON WITH GUEST AUTHOR MARIE HIGGINS


Marie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of sweet romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. Learn more about Marie and her books at her website/blog. 

Amazon’s Magical Rainforest

Many years ago, I read a romance novel set in the Amazon jungle, from one of those book-of-the-month clubs. At first, I didn’t think I would like the story, but it didn’t take long before I was pulled into the Amazon rainforest’s magical world. I remember reading about the exotic creatures in the jungle, the heat, and the dangers one can face, and this combination kept me enthralled until the very end of the story.

I was thinking of my next story, and I wanted something unique. I enjoy writing romances with suspense and a little adventure, but this time I wanted something completely different from what I’ve ever done before. Then I remembered that book I had read so long ago. What a perfect choice for my next story, a romance adventure in the Amazon Rainforest.


However, writing a story in that kind of setting would take a lot of research. But I enjoy research—I enjoy discovering new things about history or the world, so this story became a challenge for me. The first thing I wanted to know was how hot the rainforest got. After all, my characters are from the late 1800’s, so it’s not like they can put on a pair of shorts and halter-top and wear a pair of sandals. In my research, I found that the rainforest’s average temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter it’s 40 degrees. It rains on average from 130 to 250 days per year. Because humidity stays at a constant 80 percent, this is what keeps the rainforest living in like a ‘greenhouse’ effect.

Next in my research, I wanted to know what kinds of animals or any other form of creatures were dangerous, because naturally, I want something to happen to my characters that introduces vulnerability into the story. Crocodiles are always dangerous, so of course I had to add a few in this particular romance. The jaguar is the largest cat in the jungle and extremely dangerous…but aren’t they beautiful? The jungle has all kinds of snakes, so I used the Emerald Boa and the Coral. The jungle also has monkeys. I needed aggressive monkeys in my story, so I used the Howler monkey.


Another fascinating tidbit I found in my research was about the colorful frogs. The rainforest has some spectacular amphibians, but what I learned was the more colorful the frogs were—the more dangerous they can be. Not only is their bite venomous, but their skin is as well.  

I needed herbal plants…both good and bad, and I especially wanted to know what kind of reaction a person might have when they eat these herbs. Naturally, in the rainforest in the late 1800’s, there isn’t going to be a doctor’s office around every street corner. This means that herbal plants needed to be close at hand. I wanted to know what kind of food my characters could find in the jungle. Thankfully, there was a variety I could choose from; Maracuja (passion fruit), Bacaba (this one needs to be cooked before eaten), Kiwi, Papaya, Mango, and thankfully, nuts and seeds.

Out of everything I discovered about the Amazon Rainforest, my favorite had to be the waterfalls—not just one but several! This would be the only reason I would venture into the rainforest, because I adore waterfalls. Naturally, because I write sweet romance, you know there’s going to be a waterfall scene—or two.

I’ve learned so much about the rainforest, it really is magical!

All of these things I’ve mentioned (and more that I haven’t mentioned) help make my sweet romance, Amazon Sunset, a spell-binding, on-the-edge-of-your-seat book. I invite you to watch the book trailer, which gives you an idea of what my story is about. http://youtu.be/b4CtWmHz1Ic


I had so much fun writing Amazon Sunset, I decided I’m going to write two other books and put them in a series. So book #1 is Amazon Sunset, book #2 is Amazon by Moonlight, and book #3 is Amazon at Twilight. I can’t wait to write those other two stories. I know I’ll find more things to research and have just as much fun as I did with book #1.

Amazon Sunset
Katrina Landon’s life is about to change. The wealthy father she has never known wants to meet her. All she has to do is travel from the slums of Boston to Brazil. Her trek begins at the edge of the Amazon rainforest, and she'll journey from there to his rubber tree plantation. If that's not bad enough, she meets her guide—the handsome, too self-assured for his own good—Mr. Knightly, and immediately, he stirs her temper.

Felix Knightly isn’t looking forward to escorting who he assumes is a spoiled rich girl through the jungle, no matter how much her father pays.  He is shocked to find Katrina's distracting innocence, and charming demeanor makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on his job. He’d rather fight off the fire ants, howler monkeys and crocodiles than risk losing his heart to her.

As they delve deeper into the rainforest, they discover nothing is as it seems.  It's more than the unseen dangers of the jungle.  Someone wants them dead. Will Katrina and Felix solve the mystery before it's too late?


16 comments:

Marie Higgins said...

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

Collette Cameron said...

Marie, your images took me right into the story! I loved this book. So excited for you. I don't know how you write so quickly!

DirtyMartini said...

Oh yeah, you did a lot of research here...I wrote a short story of 6400 words set in the Amazon back in 2009, but didn't do a whole lot of research for it...

Btw, am I the only one these days who can't look at the word "Amazon" without thinking of the online bookseller? I guess I must be a writer or something...

Cheers,
Alan.

Marie Higgins said...

Alan, I think of the online bookseller, too. :) But hey, I had to use the Amazon word in the title...it just fits! :)

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Cool post, Marie!! I tweeted and shared on FB.

Marie Higgins said...

Thanks so much, Ella!

Lani said...

Sounds like a fabulous book! I have to get it!

Marie Higgins said...

Thanks, Lani. I hope you enjoy it!

Angela Adams said...

They are some great looking pictures!

Marie Higgins said...

Thanks, Angela. Another thing I enjoy about researching, is finding pics. lol

Marsha Ward said...

Thank you for sharing your research journey with us, Marie. I think I now want to write the Venezuelan romance I've put off for 40 years. Of course, it was a Venezuela of a different cultural era, even if only 40 years ago.

Lisa Swinton said...

looks amazing!

Lisa Swinton said...

looks amazing

Lisa Swinton said...

looks amazing!

Marie Higgins said...

Marsha, I think you need to write that story, especially if you have been waiting 40 years to do it!

Marie Higgins said...

Thanks so much, Lisa!