The Pink Heart Society is thrilled to welcome Harlequin Heartwarming author Rula Sinara, whose debut story, The Promise of Rain, is set in Kenya, and involves vets caring for orphan elephants. *sigh*
Today Rula will give away a signed copy of The Promise of Rain to one lucky commentor! Please join me in welcoming Rula!
I’ve been a fan of Pink Heart posts since long before I got The Call, so being here as a guest author is surreal. I’ve literally marked this down as one of my ‘just published’ milestones. Thank you, Jeannie, for inviting me and for being a wonderful mentor and friend!
The idea behind my debut Harlequin Heartwarming, The Promise of Rain, came from such a personal place that there was never any question as to where the story would be set. In fact, before I had any inkling of plot or conflict, I knew it would be a romance about a wildlife veterinarian in Africa. Why Africa? For that matter, why a vet?
You see, although I haven’t lived in Kenya—the setting for my story—I did spend a large chunk of my childhood living in North Africa. Those years shaped me and instilled in me a love of wildlife and nature. I have incredible memories of exploring beaches, coastal forests, the Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert. I climbed Roman ruins and camped in nomad tents, and every experience included animals from horses, donkeys and camels to exotic chameleons, scorpions and Barbary Macaques. We didn’t have electronic gadgets. We connected with nature and immersed ourselves in the culture around us.
After my family’s return to the States, I became obsessed with watching wildlife documentaries on TV, especially those filmed in Africa or Australia. Talk about cool species! And of course, as a teen, anything romantic had my attention, so I’d watch movies set in Africa…like John Wayne’s ‘Hatari!’ over and over, daydreaming about working with wildlife somewhere like the formidable Serengeti and falling in love. I wanted to be Jane Goodall.
My passion hadn’t waned by college, so while earning a biology degree, I spent a few years shadowing a zoo vet and getting great hands-on experience with various wildlife species, including African. And I wanted to become a wildlife vet and work in Africa to save endangered species, but life had other plans for me. So you can see why my heroine, Dr. Anna Bekker, is a wildlife veterinarian who’s passionate about her work to research elephants and rescue their babies orphaned by poachers.
Although Algeria and Kenya have their differences, they also have their similarities. There’s a scene in The Promise of Rain that takes place in Nairobi. Yes, I did use internet videos as a way of immersing myself and getting in the mood for the scene, but I know, first hand, the smells of an open marketplace that can range from aromatic spice of outdoor cooking to the putrid rotting scraps lost along the roadside gutter. I know the sight of a skinned lamb hanging outside a butcher stand to the vibrant colors of cloth reams and artisan work. And I’ve even witnessed goats jaywalking in city traffic.
And for the more rustic setting of Busara, Anna’s remote research camp, I tapped into, not only my years of living in the Serengeti vicariously through documentaries, but also into my experiences roughing it on what I call my real life ‘National Geographic’ type adventures and my first hand experiences with African wildlife. Don’t get me started on what I think of poaching. I’m betting that’ll come through in the story…in addition to my belief in true love finding a way…even if it is off the grid J.
So from the acacia trees and watering holes, to the baby elephants and vervet monkeys, to the Masai wedding and the bucket showers my heroine takes…I hope the Serengeti setting comes to life for you in The Promise of Rain and I invite you come back and visit Anna’s friends and family as they find their way to love in books 2 and 3 of my Harlequin Heartwarming series.
The Busara elephant research and rescue camp on Kenya's Serengeti is Anna Bekker's life's work. And it's the last place she thought she'd run into Dr. Jackson Harper. As soon as he sets eyes on her four-year-old, Pippa, Anna knows he'll never leave…without his daughter.
Furious doesn't begin to describe how Jack feels. How could Anna keep this from him? He has to get his child back to the States. Yet as angry as he is with Anna, they still have a bond. But can it endure, despite the ocean—and the little girl—between them?
Rula Sinara lives in Virginia’s countryside with her husband, three boys and crazy but endearing pets. When she's not writing or doing mom stuff, she loves organic gardening, attracting wildlife to her yard (cool bugs included) or watching romantic movies. She also enjoys interviewing fellow authors and is a Special Contributor for USA Today's Happy Ever After blog. Her door is always open at www.rulasinara.com or www.awritersrush.blogspot.com.
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