What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* A.K. Leigh is an international selling romantic suspense author, huge Michael Jackson fan, martial arts movie buff, astrologer, and identical triplet. She has a Graduate degree in Counselling, which she uses to help her develop rounded characters in her stories. When she’s not reading, writing, dreaming, or star-gazing, she spends her time with her three beautiful children. Though her books are set in North Carolina, USA (because she loves the state!), she lives in QLD, Australia.
Today A.K. Leigh will be talking about what sparked the idea for the story.
* The idea for The Venus Cure came to me from an unexpected source: a podcast my brother sent me. It was on the topic of Venus flytraps. Most people are unaware that the plants are classified as vulnerable to extinction and are protected by the Endangered Species Act. When they do find out, the inevitable question is “why”? The answer is that traps are over poached then sold for a decent price due to their rarity (around USD$100 to $200 per plant) to natural medicine companies that develop herbal “cures” for things such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.
* The problem is exacerbated because local law enforcement agencies are over-stretched and don’t have the time or resources to track down and prosecute offenders. Also, some nurseries buy from known poachers. International buyers often unknowingly purchase illegally gained plants too.
* I love north Carolina––all of my stories are set in that state––and my brother knows that. When he realized the Venus flytraps’ native habitat was in north (and south) Carolina, he sent me the podcast to listen to. I thought it would be interesting and informative, which it was, but the more I got into it, the more a story line developed in my mind.
* I envisioned a heroine, a botanical scientist, who was passionate about saving the Venus flytrap. Then a hero joined the plot. He was a Wildlife Officer, who couldn’t understand how “science” was going to help the traps. Then there was the head poacher, Leo Klein, who had a plan to take every last plant and sell them to the highest bidder…and he wasn’t going to let anyone stop him. As soon as the podcast was finished, I jotted down a basic “beginning-middle-end” romantic suspense story line :)
* Dominique Black isn’t happy. As a Wildlife Officer, he has been working at the grass roots level to save the endangered traps from poachers looking to make a quick buck. It is grueling work, with the majority of offenders going unpunished. How could a scientist with zero experience in the field help him when even the law was failing?
* The two are at immediate odds even though they share the same underlying passion for the plants…and each other.
* However, after a well-known poacher harvests traps from one of the local swamp lands, Tori and Dom must set aside their differences in order to catch the criminal and keep the remaining plants from being harmed.
* In the process, Tori learns to rely on the mysterious Venus Fly Trap folk lore she remembers from her childhood. Dom learns to release control and have faith in another person.
* The Venus Cure is a fast-paced, erotic, and lightly mystical romantic suspense novella that centers around the serious issue of Venus Fly Trap poaching. The author chose the title based on five possible meanings. See how many you are able to discover!
* But they were.
* More memories came.
* Her grandmother clasped a trap gently between her palms. She whispered, “If you love the trap, it will reveal the secrets of the universe to you.”
* “Have they revealed the secrets to you, Nonna?”
* Her grandmother smiled, “Yes, my child … and they will for you too. I promise.”
*. . . “You’re teaching me the secrets aren’t you, Nonna?”
* “Yes, my darling. The traps are just like the Goddess they are named after … but you will need to learn what I mean by that for yourself … remember this: it cannot be taught, it must be felt with the heart …”
* That was where it faded. Nothing else came. What had Nonna meant?
ANNOUNCEMENT! A.K. Leigh will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter and an ebook copy of The Venus Cure to three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour! So be sure to leave a comment AND use the Rafflecopter below. Also, visit the other tour stops for a greater chance of winning!
a Rafflecopter giveaway