Sharks—we all have that atavistic fear of them. I remember seeing Jaws as a kid and being terrified. Then I worked as a docent at the NY Aquarium when I was seventeen—my station was the shark tank, and one of the sand tiger sharks (which have a lot of teeth and look menacing) used to swim directly at the glass, giving me visions of Jaws 3. I’ve been a diver since I was a teenager, and there’s always that fleeting glimpse of something in your peripheral vision, or that dark spot out in the blue space beyond your vision that causes you to hold your breath until you figure out what it is (not recommended for divers to do that, BTW). And yet, one of the coolest dives I’ve done is a shark feeding dive in Freeport, Grand Bahamas, with Caribbean Reef sharks, which are pretty used to divers, BUT STILL. I didn’t get to wear the cool chain mail suit or personally feed the sharks, but one shark swam right between my legs in its hurry to get to the food. It was terrifying and awesome at the same time. In my book A Star to Steer Her By, the heroine, Ari, a lifelong diver and marine bio major, has had a traumatic diving experience that left her afraid to go in the water, and her hope is to overcome that fear by participating in a semester at sea.
Here’s a photo I took of the swarming sharks, and one taken of me the next day.
Photo credit: Melinda Riger.
My love for the sea began when I became a scuba diver at age 14. That led me to a college semester at sea. I returned with fond memories of being on a schooner under full sail, less fond memories of hurling over the leeward rail on a daily basis, and a sailing bug I couldn’t quite shake. I also have a fascination for all things Scottish (including, but not limited to, men in kilts), which I explored with my first novel, INTO THE SCOTTISH MIST, and carried into my new novel, A STAR TO STEER HER BY (Entangled Embrace, March 2017). I’m a native New Yorker, and am always looking ahead to my next voyage, whether a short one on a dive boat or whale watch, or, with luck, a longer one on a tall ship.
I’m scarred. Broken. I’ll never be the same.
But I will take this journey.
Ever since my last dive ended in bloodshed, I’ve been terrified to go back into the water. But the opportunity to spend a semester at sea is too good to pass up. I need to get my life back.
I never expected to love it this much. And I never expected Tristan MacDougall.
Rugged, strong, and with demons of his own, Tristan helps me find the courage I thought I had lost and heals me with every stolen moment we share. But the rules of the ship mean we can’t be together.
When a dive excursion goes terribly wrong, our only hope for survival is each other.