I know, I know. So original.
But here’s the thing. In the past five years I’ve released fifteen novels and seven short stories. A few of them were co-authored, a lot were my own, and it’s been such an intense journey sometimes it feels good to sit back and reflect.
(That’s me reflecting.)
Today I want to talk about Jurassic Heart. It recently got a shiny new cover by Garrett Leigh, which I adore – here it is if you haven’t seen it already.
Jurassic Heart came about from my deep and intense need to write a ‘dinosaur book’. Some of you might know that I’m an insane dinosaur nerd. I am the person who dragged MJ O’Shea and LC Chase to the T-Rex Café in Orlando earlier this year, just because it’s dinosaur themed! I can remember my parents wouldn’t let me see Jurassic Park when it was released in 1993, probably because I was only six years old. Even when I was a bit older they still thought it was too scary so I rebelled and bought the book instead.
(As a side note, this is probably a good example of how my parents should have policed my reading more than they policed my screen time. I found Harlequin romances at far too young an age!)
The thing with Jurassic Park that I still find even now, is that I can re-read the book and discover something new every time. It’s such a rich and layered and complex story. The science is incredible, and was totally accurate at the time it was written. The characters are fantastic. The dinosaurs… the freaking dinosaurs.
So, you can see what an effect that book had on me!
As far as Jurassic Heart goes, I can remember back around November 2012 I went to London to do some Christmas shopping with a friend and we stopped into the Natural History Museum. If you’re not familiar with the museum, there’s a huge and very famous diplodocus in the main hall. As we were wandering around, I got into my head an idea about a palaeontologist running through the main gallery, past the statue of Darwin, and down the magnificent staircase to the skeleton of Dippy the Diplodocus.
That’s where Nick was created, and that scene is actually the opening of the book.
I started writing in earnest in December 2012, and then I had a little accident on Christmas Eve.
I was totally sober (important) and slipped at the top of a flight of stone steps. Both my feet went out from underneath me and I went down all half dozen or so steps on my bum, fracturing my coccyx (tailbone) in the process. The coccyx is an interesting bone to break. It’s not like they could put my arse in a plaster cast to heal, so I was stuck on sofa/bed rest for about six weeks while I healed up. Going back to work in my office, sat at a computer for eight hours a day, was totally out of the question. So that’s when I wrote Jurassic Heart.
Research for the book didn’t feel like work at all. I spent hours and hours reading about dinosaurs, where in the world different species were found, what dinosaur skeletons are most common and which ones are barely known. Narrowing in on ‘raptors’ was instinctive—I suppose they must be my favourite dinosaur, I have a velociraptor tattoo!
I already knew about some of the famous excavation sites across the US, but wanted to create my own little place to set the book, so I picked Alberta, Canada. The famous “Dinosaur Park” is in Alberta, so it’s already an area where digs take place, lending some authenticity to my fictional town.
I knew I needed someone to really contrast and butt up against my adorable nerdy paleontologist main character, and that’s where Hunter stepped in. Hunter is the total opposite of Nick; he’s tall and broad, hunky, First Nations/French Canadian (and he speaks French too) with dark hair and smoky eyes. He’s also an eco-conservationist, and has serious issues with the damage the paleontologists do to the environment when they dig. The two characters couldn’t be more different and I loved writing that clash of personalities.
I couldn’t write here about Jurassic Heart without mentioning Boner. I can’t quite remember exactly how it happened, though it’s certainly a reflection of my own personality that I would find naming a paleontologist ‘Boner’ absolutely hilarious
A great friend of mine, Rhys Ford, recently posted about Jurassic Heart on Facebook and I’ve received more than one nudge to write a sequel since. I can’t say one is in the works right now, but if the world is ready for another paleontologist romance, I’m certainly not one to deny it that.
So, there you go! My first Throwback Thursday novel post. I’ll be working my way through all my previous books as I go along—you can subscribe to my mailing list over there on the right to make sure you don’t miss any. Thanks for reading!