…Or Why I Decided to Write a Nonfiction Book and (temporarily) Stop Killing People
I started out writing magazine articles on endangered species. Then a book contract came along and, the next thing I knew, I had ten Rachel Porter mysteries under my belt. What could be more fun than thinking of ways to kill someone while still managing to get the bad guy in the end?
Traveling to do research for each book wasn’t too shabby, either. There were trips to the bayou where I was mugged by a poacher, a journey through the Everglades which found me matching wits with a couple of mountain lions (okay, they nearly won), and on undercover jaunts to a Texas hunting ranch where good old boys plant their butts in Jeeps, rest their rifles on bean bags, and decide which Bambi to shoot. Then there was my encounter with Burmese pythons, a character aptly named Patch in the Mississippi Delta, and a secret visit to a warehouse filled with illicit shark fins in Honolulu.
Different books encompassed different adventures. A curandera once rolled an egg up and down my spine to remove any evil spirits, and I wandered into a government mine, with a BLM law enforcement ranger, all in the name of research. We weren’t really trespassing since the door to the mine was open. At least, it was open five minutes after we got there. In truth, I was having the time of my life.
All that came to a crashing halt when the book contract ended. I was forced to make a decision—have a nervous breakdown while watching the weeds grow in my “garden” or figure out something else to do. And so a narrative nonfiction book author was born. Of course, the subject matter had to fit certain criteria—it should involve wildlife, adventure, traveling and risk. Throw in a bit of smuggling and I was hooked.
Deciding to write a book is a lot like going on Match.com and hoping to find the love of your life. It takes persistence, determination, believing that the impossible can happen, and sheer dumb luck.
That’s what happened. I got lucky. A Fish and Wildlife agent clued me in on an unbelievable (but true) case. I immediately knew it was something that I had to write about. Little did I know where this adventure would lead me.