Even though we fiction authors “make things up”, research is essential. Author Juanita Aydlette is here today sharing her research for her exciting paranormal romance.
Research for It’s in the Blood
In It’s in the Blood, my heroine, Gabrielle Madsen, was a botany major in college. Her first real vacation was a trip of a lifetime. To bring the reader into my character’s world, I had to learn what I could about plants, and since her summer vacation was mostly set in Africa, I did research on plants that were native to that area of the world. Second, the country itself was foreign to me as far as the people and their culture were concerned—except for what I had seen on television. I watched videos on National Geographic to get a feel of what it’s like to go on an African safari and come so close to the wild animals. I put myself in the narrator’s seat, so I could image what it would be like to experience a close encounter with a charging elephant, threating to crush us to protect her baby. I watched the big cats and carnivorous plants devour their meals, while struggling hard to understand that it was just Nature’s way of keeping in balance.
But among the constant fight for survival within the animal communities, a lively and beautiful land not far away has much to discover. Among the carnivorous plants are also those that heal: medicines that scientists have yet to discover. There is exquisite cuisine and the most extravagant wedding ceremonies with exotic costumes of vibrant colors. A place where life is celebrated like none other.
The news reflects a country in constant chaos, totally overshadowing the beauty that desperately cries to be recognized. I added the mixture of beauty, danger, mystery and forbidden love in my novel to stir up a variety of emotions that would spark and capture the interest of my readers. I hope that I succeeded.
Never stare at a green-eyed, shirtless hunk. Gabrielle Madsen is drawn in by such a pair of eyes that captures her soul and leaves her a prisoner of an addictive kind of love–not that she’s complaining. But her educational trip turns out to be more than just a fun-filled summer escapade.
She’s faced with a life-changing decision that could affect the world around her. Her discovery of this ancient, legend-come-to-life proves to be deadly, but her heart can’t break away. She and Josh Van Ness fall in love and must battle the forces that want to keep them apart.
Away from the open menagerie was a path surrounded by dense trees. It was across a narrow decorative bridge built into the landscape. The thick greenery provided a shady side to the open garden. A spotlight created by the sun beckoned to me from inside and I walked away from the others. My eyes were fixed on the pink and red groundcover that glimmered with a hypnotic seduction. I ventured toward the fragrant breeze, unaware of how far I had strayed.
After only a few yards inside the cover of the trees, my body was seized again by a rumble and a frightening snarl. A chill blanketed me and I couldn’t move. I didn’t dare look around, for the back of my blouse had already been saturated by the heated moisture from the breath of the beast. My first instinct was to scream, but fear had stolen my voice. So I took a deep breath and held it. The scent of horror filled my lungs. It was familiar. Was I being stalked by the animal that lurked outside my hotel grounds?
Help me please, rang inside my head. My eyes squeezed shut as its sharp fangs pinched my shoulder. Tears filled my eyes and my hands formed a fist. I waited to feel my bones snap when suddenly, it let go. The leaves crunched. The sound grew fainter by the second, then nothing. My eyes remained closed as I trembled and listened.
“Miss?” A woman’s voice severed my nightmare. “I saw you come out here. We’re getting ready to go to another area. You don’t want to be left behind.”
Without hesitation I ran past her, clutching my throat and sobbing. The other tourists were boarding the van and I made my way to the back. The woman I believed saved me from certain death, came and sat beside me.
My body trembled as the bus came to stop. I ran from the tourist center to the hotel. Once inside the bathroom, I stripped and examined my shoulder. A painful bruise was both in front and in back. I cried out loud, shook convulsively, and then laughed hysterically. Was I going mad?
About the Author:
Juanita Aydlette is from Shreveport, Louisiana, and now lives in Texas. She’s the only girl in a family of four brothers. She love music, planting flowers and is a dog lover…that’s why she works at an animal clinic.
What started out as a childhood obsession with magical creatures in storybooks, became a passion in her later years. She created such magic in her first novel It’s in the Blood, and challenged her imagination to bring readers into her world of romance, suspense and fear of the unknown. Her upcoming novel Blood Ties continues the saga.
It’s in the Blood was voted among the Top Ten Young Adult novels of 2016 by Preditors & Editors Readers Choice awards.
Find out more about Juanita at:
Twitter: @Juanita Aydlette
You’re right, Juanita, that we only seem to see bad news reports about Africa. It truly is a rich land, full of wonders, and one I’d like to visit someday.
I love this excerpt, and thanks for being here today, Juanita!