Message From The Author

Sandra Hill

Book Title: PEARL JINX
Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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Author's Message

Snake Charmer

SANDRA HILL CONFRONTS HER PHOBIAS HEAD-ON IN PEARL JINX

I HATE SNAKES.

Caleb Peachey, hero of my latest Jinx treasure-hunting book, Pearl Jinx (Jul., Warner), also hates snakes.

So, why did I plant Caleb, an ex-Amish Navy SEAL (yes, I know that's an oxymoron), in Spruce Creek, Pa., where I know from personal experience that snakes abound?

The answer is simple: The fly-fishing meccas, Spruce Creek and the Little Juniata River, are the best-kept secrets in central Pennsylvania. A beautiful spot, it sits on some of the most spectacular deep caverns in the world.

Caverns play an important role in Pearl Jinx, where a team of explorers
are searching for cave pearls. Yes, pearls can be produced by nature in caverns, much the same as they are made in oysters, by the steady drip, drip, drip of water onto sand over the centuries.

Equally important is the presence of Amish in nearby Sinking Valley, giving extra attractiveness to the area and poignancy to Caleb's return to his roots. Caleb has been shunned for 17 years by his Amish family, including his twin brother Jonas.

There is a lot of Native American history in the area, too, thus bringing in my heroine "Crazy" Claire Cassidy, a cultural anthropologist who is an expert on Lenape Indians. Claire becomes a thorn in one ex-Navy SEAL's behind when she's assigned to oversee the Pearl Project.

But back to snakes. When we first bought our cottage on Spruce Creek, I agreed with my husband that it was a little bit of paradise. But Robert failed to tell me there were slimy creatures who also considered
it their home.

The first time I realized there might be a problem, I was watering flowers in
a stone wall that surrounds the patio. Something dropped onto my foot. Looking down, I saw a SNAKE! OK, so it wasn't a big snake, but it was a SNAKE! I had actually watered a snake. Yeech!

I began to look around our cottage grounds a bit more carefully. There were snakes in the water, in the stone wall that abutted the stream, in the flower beds.

My husband and my four sons tried to tell me that most of them were non-poisonous. They were still snakes, I contended.

We bought lemon grass, which is supposed to repel snakes. They thrived in it. By this time, I am picturing all the snakes within a one-mile radius telling each other on the snake grapevine, "Come to the Hills'. Paaaarty!"

I decided to use this fear of snakes in one of my novels, and since I write humor, the situation had to be funny. Besides that, remember Indiana Jones and those snakes? Yep, treasure hunters and snakes make a great combination.

Come see what happens when Caleb lands in the middle of fly-fishing, Amish, snake country in Pearl Jinx with his very own red-haired Indian maiden. Laughter and love guaranteed!


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