Recently I guest-blogged in BTS eMag (Book & Trailer Showcase E-Magazine) about how writers tackle story location http://bit.ly/1HkpC3o & http://bit.ly/1Sx9tK7. I’m glad to say that just a few days ago I was able to re-visit one of the locations I spoke about in BTS—Florida’s Everglades. The last time I had traveled here I was a teenager. Back then, my parents took me, a New York City girl, on the adventure of a lifetime. The impact of that breath-taking experience stuck with me strongly enough that I set the scene for my very first published novel, DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES, right there. A good portion of this book was based on my memories. Ones that, even thirty years later, never faded.
This year, my husband and I had a unexpected opportunity to take a family trip. My kids, who are raised in New England, had already ventured as far South as Florida, but only to Orlando (not too surprising a location, I’m sure). This time I was determined that we do something quite different during our Florida trip.
My kids are old enough now (ages fourteen and ten) that they don’t need to be dependent on a theme park to have fun. I wanted them to appreciate the raw (and sometimes intimidating) beauty of Florida itself. More importantly, I wanted them to live the same awe-inspiring experience in the Everglades that I had as a child. As an extra bonus prize, I would also get to watch my husband’s reaction, because he had never been to this area either.
The first thing we did in Florida was to book a tour company for an airboat ride. Airboats are really the best way to get around the Everglades. They are surprisingly fast for things that look like aluminum siding slapped together with a giant fan shoved on the back. Our airboats had headphones that allowed us to hear the tour guide over the sound of the boat’s movement and fan noise (which is really quite loud). The minute our boat took off I watched the faces of my family light up. This included my teenager who typically dons a “too-cool-for-you” attitude. I’ve got to say their awe-struck expressions left me feeling very gratified (if not outright triumphant).
The amount of animals we saw on the tour was as wondrous as all the breathtaking scenery. Some of the “residents” we saw were countless alligators (from tiny to frighteningly large), rare Great Blue Herons, cranes, red-winged blackbirds, and woodcocks. Everywhere we turned new animals were either popping up, submerging themselves, or flying off into a distant cluster of “cabbage palms.” We even saw an unexpected animal – a hog that was the pet of the tour company. Seeing this “pet” was remarkable to me, since hogs (albeit wild ones) play a very crucial role in my story. They are rare to find in Florida, but yes, they do live there.
I’ve included some of the pictures I took on this unexpected escapade. Including the one below of a dragonfly that landed on my husband during our airboat ride.
I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them. I truly felt like I was living the life of Stephanie, the heroine in my book, instead of just Stacy—regular, plain ‘ol me.
What’s the most unusual place you ever visited?
WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS FOR STACY HOFF:
AMAZON LINK FOR DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES by Stacy Hoff:
AMAZON LINK FOR DESIRE IN THE ARCTIC by Stacy Hoff:
AMAZON LINK FOR LAWFULLY YOURS by Stacy Hoff:
AMAZON LINK FOR SEASON OF LOVE (Box set with Stacy Hoff):
AMAZON LINK FOR HOT SEDUCTION (box set with Stacy Hoff):