The perils of researching

» Posted on Jan 10, 2007 in Blog | 2 comments

Heart of the Amazon is a book of my heart. I have always been fascinated with the jungle. I have read book after book about the rain forest, and then I got an opportunity to go to a jungle—first in Belize and later in Costa Rico. When I write a book, I like to be authentic and know what I’m writing about. I like to visit the country or town I locate my book in. If I can, I immerse myself in a place.

So that is the reason I found myself staying at a national park in Costa Rico on the Caribbean side of the country. Now when I go on a vacation, I like at least a three star hotel. The place I stayed in was maybe a one star hotel—and I use hotel loosely here. I felt like I was camping out in the wilds and I don’t do camping well. The cabin had no air-conditioning and it was hot. Worse I ended up taking a shower with a lizard. I freaked out! I’m sure the people in the cabins nearby heard my scream.

The next morning my husband and I were awakened by a chorus of birds chirping happily in the trees outside our cabin. There was one particular bird that I think made it his mission to drive me crazy. If he slept, it was when I was gone. He probably watched me leave, took a nap or whatever birds do, then when he saw me return, he started in again with his unusual call. No doubt a lonely male looking for a mate. If I were a female bird, I would have been staying away from that one.

When I went to breakfast that first morning, what did I see on the way? A boa in the tree near the path! At that moment I didn’t care that it was a baby one. A snake is a snake is a snake.

After the first day I was wondering what I had found fascinating about a jungle. There are scary animals in jungles. You sweat buckets and it is HOT! These are all things I don’t like, but a writer does so many unpleasant things for the sake of authenticity in her book.

Despite my excursions into the jungle, I’m still enthralled with the rain forest. There is a beauty only God could have made. Our jungles are a vital area on this planet. There are still undiscovered plants and animals, I’m sure, in the rain forest around the world. Stepping into the jungle is like opening a treasure chest of the Lord’s wonders.


  1. Sounds like a neat experience. Though I didn’t stay in the jungle in Africa, I stayed in a little bush island village and had similar experiences.

    I’m really glad I kept a journal because it’ll make great material for a book.

  2. Margaret, the researched paid off in your latest book, Heart of the Amazon. Wow! I couldn’t put it down. Thanks for an awesome read! Can’t wait for your next book. Jan

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