BEYOND RISK, book 1 in the Florida Wildlife Warriors series releases on January 29th, (hooray) so I thought I’d give you a little behind-the-scenes look at the writing of the story and how I used my day job to help write this series.
First, let me say that I am blessed with two fabulous jobs. I am a USCG-licensed boat captain and work for the Silver River Museum, which is part of Marion County Public Schools. I take 5thgraders out on the Silver River in Ocala, Florida, and get to show many of them their very first alligator or manatee. I love watching their eyes light up and hearing them ask, “Is that real?” The highest praise is when a child steps off the boat and declares this the, “Best field trip ever.”
When I’m not piloting a boat, I’m home in my writing cave, working on my next romantic suspense novel.
Setting my new Florida Wildlife Warriors series here in my own backyard was great fun. I wanted to write about a different kind of law enforcement officer, so I created a family of FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) Officers. I’ve met quite a few FWC officers through my work and have been impressed with their calm competence, knowledge, and care for people and the environment. Most people don’t realize that they are state law enforcement, meaning their jurisdiction is not limited to a city or county like local police. They patrol by truck, boat and/or ATV, and generally work alone. Folks sometimes call them, “Fish Cops” thinking all they do is check coolers and fishing licenses. But their job description and jurisdiction extends statewide.
Two local FWC Officers, Greg Workman and Chad Weber, were kind enough to let me ride along with them one day. Naturally, I peppered them with questions: “So if you came upon this scene, what would you do next? What if this happened? Then what? How does dispatch work? What type of weapon do you carry? What’s your typical day look like?” (Answer: every day is different.) They were so kind—and I had a blast. (Anything I got right is thanks to them. Any mistakes are all mine.)
I’m delighted that BEYOND RISK, Book 1 of the series, will be out on January 29, 2019 from Sourcebooks Casablanca. (I am currently editing book 2 and writing book 3, so stay tuned…)
Publishers Weekly called it,“…charming, exciting, and thoughtful… the strong sense of place and thrilling action make this worth picking up.”
It’ll be available in print or e-book at your local bookseller or favorite online retailer:
Here’s a short video I made while on the river, talking about BEYOND RISK.
I hope you’ll pick up a copy. I look forward to hearing what you think of Charlee and Hunter’s story.