That best kept secret officially has a name! 🙂 Get ready for the hashtag #UnderAMeltingSun to be plastered all over my social networks (sorry in advance, but I’m an indie author and this is what we do best)!
I always knew the Amazon was a fascinating place, but it wasn’t until this project started that I actually took a physical interest in it (physical as in buying books and looking it up on the internet because I’m not rich enough yet to travel that far. One day, though!). In fact, just the idea that an isolated tribe, never contacted with outsiders, could have similar societal structures as the rest of us is mind blowing! I took anthropology classes in college, but the only things I remember are studies that took place in New Guinea or Africa. For some reason I don’t remember much of the Amazon being taught; though don’t get me wrong, they could have lectured about it and I was too busy writing a scene for a story I was working on. Yeah, I was that kind of a student. 😛
But what probably makes the Amazon so much more appealing (to me, at least) is the mystery surrounding the rainforest itself. I didn’t know this until I started diving into it that there have been countless people who have explored the Amazon never to return. True, it happens in other places, but the one story that has fascinated me so far is the disappearance of Colonel Percy Fawcett. In 1925, he went on an exploration to find “Z”, a lost ancient city he and others believed was El Dorado, the city of gold. And sadly, he and his party never returned. What peaks my interest is not the fact he pulled an Amelia Earhart, but that an estimated 100 people have disappeared or died trying to find him. That’s how mysteriously dangerous the Amazon is, which of course makes it absolutely fascinating.
It was through this story that I learned about Colonel Fawcett’s book Exploration Fawcett. He had been equally starstruck by the rainforest years before his disappearance, and wrote down his travels while trying to find this lost city. It was his younger son who found the ten years worth of manuscripts, letters and logbooks that were eventually compiled into what would become a novel, which was originally published back in 1953. And it was through learning about this book that I came across another book. Peter Fleming, the older brother of Ian Fleming (author and overall creator of James Bond), was one of the few men who went looking for Fawcett and survived. In 1932, he embarked on the quest in which he documented his journey in his book called Brazilian Adventure.
After learning about both these books, I immediately went to Amazon.com (irony!) and bought them, among a couple other books that also document travels that took place in the Amazon, which included Theodore Roosevelt’s near deadly exploration down the River of Doubt, the rest of the account of Fawcett’s mysterious Lost City of Z, and a more modern adventure in locating a lost tribe who were looked upon as The Unconquered.
Despite the fact that Under A Melting Sun has really nothing to do with disappearing explorers or the Lost City of Z, I’m divulging into these stories because each one tells a tale about different explorations that took place in the same rainforest, and they nearly all had the same results: death, disappearance, or narrowing escapes. Roosevelt ventured out into it in 1914, Fawcett explored it from 1915 to 1925, Fleming attempted in 1932, and then the modern explorers took their chances at it. Each a different method, and each almost totally consumed by the Amazon itself. That right there, to me, makes the Amazon a very mystifying place to set a story.
And that, my friends, is your first spoiler for #UnderAMeltingSun. 🙂