The Winged Obsession Blog…

…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.

27 thoughts on “The Winged Obsession Blog…”

  1. Hello Jessica. I am a fan of yours (and a fan of all wildlife). I’ve read all your Rachel Porter books and will read your newest book when it comes out. I do hope Rachel will be back though because I love the characters you created. I live in Mendocino, CA and the first book of yours that I read took place here. That got me hooked. Best of luck in your latest venture. Sincerely, Evie Wilson

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  2. Hi Jessica,
    I have always loved your books from the begining – I can’t fathom why the book company wouldn’t continue with you. I too will read your new book and will look forward to a return of Rachel someday. Please don’t ever give up!
    Best,
    Cris Carl

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  3. I suspect you’ll go back to killing (only on paper) once the non-fiction title hits the shelves. Or maybe, you’ll decide that writing about true crime is more fun than the fake stuff! Whichever, you have many fans who love to read what you write. Looking forward to the new title and to reading your blog

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  4. Your latest book sounds fascinating! I loved all your fiction books. I look forward to reading it and hopefully, more of the Rachel Porter series. Keep up the excellent writing!

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  5. Your books are fantastic! I always enjoyed the humor and the seriousness of the real issues. Any chance of another publisher that can read a good story? Yes, please keep up the excellent writing and have another Rachel Porter story ready for us. Thanks!

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  6. Terrific…anything you write I will read. Especially hits home as I am a wildlife rehabilitator and can really identify with some of the situations and characters!
    Lynne

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  7. Jessica, I’ve already told you on other occasions how much I love your rachel porter series, and now I’m excited to read you. Newest non-fiction book. I’ve read a couple of your early articles, but do you have a compilation of some of them on the shelves, or can you suggest some magazine archives?

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  8. Loved all your books about Rachel and was disappointed when the series “ended”… I will be looking for your new non-fiction book and hope this will be the start of a new career for you!! Best wishes and thanks for all the wonderful stories you wrote.

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  9. I have read the Rachel Porter series several time as I love the adventure and the people you have created. I am sad to learn that that series is finished but look forward to the new book and hope that Rachel will come back for more adventures.

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  10. I have read and enjoyed all of your books, and spent six months tracking down “Gator Aid”, as always it was worth the find. I even called the publisher at one to find out about your next publication, so after the long spell of no Jessica books I am happy you have something coming out.

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  11. Jessica,
    After reading your books and having been a part of two of them, I can hardly wait to see the non-fiction book. With the large emphasis on pollinators and the advantage of being charismatic fauna it should be a hit. Thanks for taking the time to write for us to enjoy.

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  12. Dear Jess,

    I thought butterflies were free. If this is half as good as Rachel, your fans will be well rewarded. Good luck from Rachel’s opposite Abby.

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  13. Wow! How crazy can people be? Can you imagine being bitten by a wild creature that you are smuggling? There must be some viri or bacteria in at least one of these creatures mouths that no one would suspect as a pathogen.

    I just don’t get the need to keep exotic animals. If you are a true admirer, then you would want to see them safe and secure. That would be in their own environment, with a zoo or sactuary being the next alternative. I have never been a fan of keeping animals as prisoners for personal entertainment. They belong being free; they belong in the wild.

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  14. Jessica – 85 snakes in one woman’s bra? The image in my mind as I read your blog gave me the creeps! I have heard of some of the ways of smuggling the drugs but you certainly enlightened me further. Talk about animal abuse in one of the worse ways.

    Reading your books and your blogs sheds a different perspective in the wildlife world.

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  15. Dear Queen of Blogs,
    You write not only vivid, important information; you give each subject a witty, personal touch. It looks like your next book is off to a great start. Please inform your fans if there will be a local book signing. In admiration, Jill

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  16. Loved your Rachel Porter books with great characters, vivid descriptions of locations and an education about environmental issues. Can’t wait to read this non-fiction book. Hope you will bring Rachel back for your next book. Who do fans have to lobby to make this happen?

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  17. I am a voracious reader of fiction as well as non. And this book just tore it up! I loved it. My appetite is peaked for more! Thanks

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