I’m sure I’m not the only writer to have a relative or friend who says “Hey, I’ve got an idea for a book,” and you’ve got to figure out how to let them down easy without hurting their feelings because you know there’s no way in the world you’d ever consider writing that. Well, my mom was that person. So you can imagine my response when she said I should write a Bigfoot love story, which was obviously my punishment for getting her hooked on the Finding Bigfoot show. After telling her no, absolutely not for months, I finally began to think about the idea. Granted, by then, I was desperate, had been querying my third book to agents for nearly a year, and was preparing to shelve it and move on. My main concern was how in the world I could pull off a serious story with subject matter that most people don’t take seriously.
With that in mind, I felt that the Tarzan-esque theme seemed the best way to tell the story I wanted, and the fact that it worked out so well to bring out the core of the story is what I love best about it. When my soon-to-be agent was reading it, she tweeted that she was in love with a book that shouldn’t work, but totally does (not that I was Twitter stalking her or anything). And I hold on to those words, reminding myself of them almost every day.
In an effort to make this world I’d created as realistic as possible, I begged and received an invitation to join the Texas BFRO (Bigfoot Research Organization) on their yearly research expedition in Sam Houston State park outside Houston. I met some of the most interesting, honest people, who truly believe in what they’re doing, and was entranced by their stories and experiences. I also tromped around in the pitch black of a forest with a Flir camera stalking something that might or might not exist and for someone terrified of the dark that was a big deal! It was an amazing experience, and I admire what this group does to prove the existence of something that most people think they’re crazy to believe.
So I hope, in the end, that The Shadows We Know by Heart is a story that might not convince people to believe, but hopefully makes them want to believe, because that’s where the magic is.
Do YOU want to believe? Read the extended excerpt of The Shadows We Know by Heart here, available until March 27!