Alligators, Romance Authors & Romantic Suspense
Author Question: Please, tell us about your job as boat captain and how you got into writing romantic suspense. Does living in Florida and working on the boats blend into your stories?
1 – Yes, we have alligators, but they are not waiting at the side of the road to eat you. :) If you live in Florida, especially in less populated areas like I do, assume that anything bigger than a mud puddle could have an alligator living in it. Which means being smart. Don’t swim in the weedy end of the lake at sunrise and sunset when alligators feed. Don’t walk small dogs at the edge of ponds. Gators are opportunistic feeders, meaning they’re pretty lazy and happy to accept handouts, which is why it’s against Florida law to feed a wild gator. We want to keep that safe zone between them and us. Why take chances, right?
2 – Manatees come here in the winter for our springs, not our beaches. Manatees, or sea cows, can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. They’re vegetarians and generally spend their summers munching sea grasses out in the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic. But when water temps start going down, their instincts send them to find warmer water like our gorgeous springs, which bubble up from the Floridan Aquifer at a toasty 72 degrees year-round. If water temps drop below 68 degrees, manatees can get hypothermia. This is also why you see them congregated near power plants: it’s all about that warm water.
3 – Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers are state law enforcement. That means their jurisdiction covers all of Florida, not just one geographic area like local and county law enforcement agencies. They are far more than “Fish cops,” who check fishing licenses and coolers. They are also the first agency called in any marine accidents that occur on our waterways and along our shoreline.
4 –We have several troops of wild monkeys in Central Florida, but they are not native. Rather, they are the result of “unintended consequences.” In the 1930s, a man named Colonel Tooey, ran a boat concession on the Silver River. To attract more customers, he imported a troop (about 25 or so) Rhesus Macaque monkeys from India/Southeast Asia and put them on an island in the Silver River. But when he came back with his guests, the monkeys were gone. He didn’t know they could swim! They’ve been wild out here ever since and the fate of their descendants is currently the subject of heated debate.
5 –If you spot a black bird with a long skinny neck and pointy beak standing along the shoreline with his wings spread, he’s not showing off. He’s an anhinga, and he’s drying off after fishing. Anhinga’s (and cormorants) are diving birds, but they don’t have oil glands like a duck, which allows them to dive deep and shoot through the water like a torpedo with the help of their webbed feet. They spear fish with those pointy beaks, then toss them up in the air and swallow the fish whole. Every few dives, though, they have to get out and dry their wings so they can get airborne again.
It was great having you over. Thanks for coming to Night Owl Romance and sharing your latest book.
Beyond Risk - Florida Wildlife Warriors Book 1
The river runs wild
Former Fish & Wildlife Officer Charlotte "Charlee" Tanner still carries the guilt of a tragic drowning accident that occurred on her watch. She hoped moving back home to the wilds of central Florida would provide a safe haven-until she learns the death was no accident, and she's the intended target.
But no wilder than their passion
Tough and decisive, Lieutenant Hunter Boudreau loves his new job as a law enforcement officer with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Charlee is his best friend, so when she comes under fire, he's not letting her out of his sight until the killer is caught. But Charlee won't sit by and let anyone else die for her.
As danger closes in and Charlee and Hunter's attraction threatens to consume them, Charlee has to decide if she can trust Hunter. And to save Charlee, Hunter will have to trust her, too.
The lucky print copy winner is: Krypton
Connie Mann is a licensed boat captain and loves writing romantic suspense stories set in Florida’s small towns and unspoiled wilderness. She is the author of Beyond Risk, (Florida Wildlife Warriors #1), the Safe Harbor series (Tangled Lies, Hidden Threat, Deadly Melody), as well as Angel Falls and Trapped! She has lived in seven different states but this weather wimp has happily called Central Florida home for more than twenty years.
When she’s not dreaming up plotlines, you’ll find “Captain Connie” on the Silver River, introducing boats full of schoolchildren to their first alligator. She is also passionate about helping women and children in developing countries break the poverty cycle and build a better future for themselves and their families. Besides boating, she and her husband enjoy hanging out with their grown children and extended family and planning their next adventure.