I love the beach. More specifically, I love the Caribbean. I love the turquoise water and white sand, and I love snorkeling for hours. I especially love the wildlife: turtles, trunkfish, parrotfish, angel fish, stingrays, eels, and on and on. The ocean is astonishingly beautiful. I love its sound and its rolling, rocking motion. I love reading a great book beneath a palm tree. Whenever I visit there, the most amazing peace and quiet settles over my soul.
When I first began thinking about "The Future Unborn," a YA novel about teen pregnancy, we were in an all-inclusive resort for families in the southern Caribbean. Most of the guests were from Europe, and there were several teens. The girls were lovely, independent, and seemingly unsupervised, and of course, boys followed them wherever they went. Young love seemed to be in the air.
I wondered what it would be like to be an American girl in such an environment, especially a sheltered and inexperienced teen. I imagined that it would be easy for her to lose her bearings and find herself in a difficult situation.
Once while I was snorkeling on my own, I spotted a turtle. I began swimming after it, and I followed that turtle for a long time, mesmerized by how the sun glinted on its shell and legs. Together we circled around and around, almost dancing together. The colors of the ocean were breathtaking, and I felt buoyant and a bit spellbound by the experience. Suddenly I saw a flash of silver in the distance and realized I had traveled very far from shore. I swam very hard and for a long time before returning safely to shore.
I think that's what happened to Kansas during her beach trip in "The Future Unborn." She saw something beautiful that made her throw caution to the wind and consequently put herself at risk.
What about you? Did you ever find yourself too far from land--metaphorically or in real life? I'd love to hear from you.