Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Author Spotlight - The Romance of Cruising
Anyone who has cruised the seas or who has watched "The Love Boat" knows there can be romance to sea travel. Feeling the wind in your hair, the endless ocean views, stars twinkling above a darkened sea, the setting sun and exotic ports of call, all can set the mood for love. Yes, this is cliché, but onboard ship it is also a real experience, not only a daydream.
Cruising by its very nature is romantic. Many people remember the popular American television show The Love Boat, which aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986 and was watched all around the world. The show was based on a 1976 made for TV movie based on the nonfiction book The Love Boats by Jeraldine Saunders, who was a cruise director. The sitcom was usually set aboard the Pacific Princess, a Princess Cruises cruise liner.
It might seem unlikely but aboard a ship filled with hundreds, even thousands of people, together time for two still happens. So many things can be arranged. A table for two at dinner, lounge chairs side by side at the pool, dancing together in the evening followed by a walk around the outer deck, and then there are the private cabins with balconies. For couples wishing to spend their honeymoon or anniversary onboard a cruise, many options are available.
I spent several years as a travel consultant and have arranged many such trips for my clients. I have also sailed on many cruise lines and on many ships. I love being at sea. So it's no surprise I would set one of my romance novels onboard a ship sailing the Caribbean.
My third book, Aboard the Wishing Star, is the story of Kara, a widow who sails away thinking she has escaped her problems only to find they have followed her.
One of the problems Kara deals with is a phobia of deep water, a fear of drowning. You might ask why she goes on a cruise if she has this fear. The answer is, she wins a cruise for two and invites her best friend, Viv. Now you might be thinking even that wouldn't be enough of an incentive and while it is true there are people with water phobia who would never cruise no matter how great the incentive, there are people who would. How do I know this? Because I am one of them.
I have a water phobia which I have had since I was a small child. I'm not sure where it came from, there are no stories of me almost drowning, but there it is. I didn't learn to swim until I was in college and only then because it was a requirement for graduation at the private women's college I attended. I took the "timid non-swimmers" class and I passed, but just barely. The instructor told me I was the first truly phobic student she'd ever had. Today I will swim in a lake or ocean but only with a life vest on and I can swim in a swimming pool but only with flotation. Why? Because without flotation I tend to freak out and cannot hear anyone who is yelling at me. Anyone trying to save me had better get behind me so I don't hurt him or her. I'm simply not capable of intelligent coherent thought when that phobia strikes. And yet, I love the sea and I love sailing. I love the ocean and the beach. Nothing feeds my soul quite like it, so I am always drawn back no matter how far away I live from the beach. I love to snorkel and I have even gone tubing (though just one time for that because it felt like I was going to drown) and I once walked the plank of a pirate ship off the coast of Grand Cayman. I've pushed myself to my limits, always with flotation of course. I love the ocean too much to stay away from it, even with the phobia.
So I can relate to Kara, a little bit when it comes to swimming in the ocean. The scenes where Nate teaches her to snorkel are my favorites and I'm hoping they come across well to my readers. I admit to being a little nervous about this. Perhaps this is normal when an author puts a little bit of herself into one of her characters, particularly when it involves a phobia. But I went out on that limb and here I am. That's what I do with this phobia. Every so often I go out on a limb.
That's what Kara must do. Go out on that limb, taking a chance on a shipboard romance, which is always a chance because who knows what will happen once they disembark? And that's one of the more risky things we do, if we've ever been deeply hurt, taking one more chance at love.
What do you think of cruises? Have you ever been on a cruise? If you have never been, would you like to go? Do you have a phobia and if so, how have you handled that?
BOOK TRAILER LINK:
Desert Breeze Publishing http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-360/Aboard-the-Wishing-Star/Detail.bok
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/aboard-the-wishing-star-debra-parmley/1113367743?ean=2940015597219