Welcome to my stop on the Kalahari Safari! If you’re new to the Safari, check in at Base Camp to learn what it’s about and how you can win!
From the Author:
When sketching ideas for a new story, one of my favorite first steps is choosing the setting. For Origin, it was the Amazon rainforest. For Vitro, it was a tropical island in the South Pacific. Approaching the third Corpus book, I knew its setting had to be equally compelling and remote, and ideally, a place I knew nothing about—because half the fun of writing a story there (much like the fun of reading it) is getting to learn about someplace new.
The first mention I’d ever heard of the Kalahari desert was in the 80’s comedy classic The Gods Must Be Crazy.
When I was listing ideas for the setting of the story that would become Kalahari, I saw this DVD sitting on my shelf and thought “I wonder…” I dove into some cursory research to be sure it matched the criteria I had (remote location, dangerous wildlife, could I imagine a secret lab hidden there?, etc.), and was soon entirely obsessed. I had my setting.
Next step? Lots and lots of research. I knew practically nothing about the area, and the movie was notorious for sneaking in completely bonkers “facts” (like rhinoceroses who stamp out fires—um, nope!) so I immediately bought a stack of books about the region and got busy reading up.
So now I had a lot of factual information and cool stories in my research file, but there was still something missing that was preventing me from starting the book. I still didn’t really feel the Kalahari. I didn’t know how to describe waking up there on your first morning in the bush, or what sort of things you’d hear late at night. I wanted a sense of the size and colors and sounds—sensations I needed to experience myself.
And so I booked a ticket to Botswana, and with equal measures of excitement and trepidation, flew in a tiny single prop Cessna deep into the central Kalahari—a region called Deception Valley, to be specific, chosen because it was the location where zoologists Mark and Delia Owens (authors of Cry of the Kalahari) originally planted their base camp.
What I saw and experienced there became integral to the story itself; there are few pages in the book which don’t include descriptions taken from the journal I kept each day while exploring the Kalahari. And beyond just seeing and feeling the land and its wildlife, I was able to meet and talk to its people—South Africans who had made their home there, Naro guides whose ancestors had roamed the Kalahari for thousands of years, pilots who flew over it every day. And that’s where my real research began—listening to the ones who knew the Kalahari best, asking questions, and leaving every expectation at the airport.
(Me with my husband—my intrepid travel buddy!—and our guides Jacobus and Tsota, on our last day in the Kalahari.)
Joey’s number is:
Complete the challenges below (the more you complete the higher your chances of winning a big prize!) and then head back to Base Camp and on to the next challenge!