I’m so happy to welcome Lindsay Marie Miller back to Awesome Indies! You might remember her from her previous appearance promoting her book Emerald Green. Â This book is a historical Romance, so a different genre. If that’s your thing, you should definitely check this out!
In the spring of 1899, Henry Rochester boards a ship on the docks of New York Harbor and sets sail across the Atlantic. Desperately seeking freedom and adventure, Henry fails to anticipate the violent ocean storm that will destroy the ship, murder his fellow comrades, and leave him stranded on a deserted island. However, Henry is not alone in paradise, as a beautiful young woman, named Elaine, acquaints him with the enchanting, yet evil nature of the jungle. As the two quarrel, reconcile, and bond, love blossoms between them like an exotic wildflower. But when the tide turns, bringing an unescapable wave of danger with it, Henry and Elaine must face the callous brutality of the uninvited.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
The Epilogue. There is so much tension, emotion, and shock built into the ending of Jungle Eyes. WhileÂ I was writing, I just couldnÂ’t wait to get to that cliffhanger, because I knew how much it was going toÂ affect me, even as the author. ItÂ’s a twist unlike any other IÂ’ve ever had before, and I look forward toÂ explaining it in the remaining novels of the trilogy.
What were you like in school?
Sometimes shy, sometimes loud. I could be bubbly and vivacious, outgoing even, but I was definitelyÂ the girl that always had her head in a book. I spent most of my time in the library.
What was your favorite subject in school?
English. My eighth and ninth grade teacher really had a love for fiction and a love of short stories. IÂ think he was one of the first people to open my eyes to the magic of losing yourself in a fantasy andÂ really giving up your mind to the words on the page. His classes were always the best.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
IÂ’d love to. HereÂ’s an excerpt from HenryÂ’s unexpected arrival on the island in Jungle Eyes:
One day, when the sun was preparing to center itself in the sky, Henry felt still,Â peaceful somehow, as if the water had stopped moving him. Henry slowly opened his eyesÂ to find himself lying on his stomach, his hands pressed into the sandy shore beneath him.
He moved his fingers, and as they dug into the damp ground, his face lifted. Holding thatÂ small clump of wet sand in the air caused Henry to look forward, where he discovered aÂ tropical island in the midst of the sea.
In astonishment, Henry staggered to his feet, not minding the waves that still flowedÂ against the back of his knees. Pushing the hair from his face, Henry crawled towards theÂ lush paradise, finding it hard to move on such weak muscles. His mouth hung open, soÂ full of hunger and thirst that he yelped in delight once he discovered a table of food,Â covered with exotic fruits, leafy vegetables, and fine grains.
There was a small wooden shack, just bordering the area where Henry ate like a madÂ man, shoving as much sustenance as he could into his mouth at once. He closed his eyes,Â taking a thankful breath, as he had never felt so grateful for food in his entire life.
Except for the small shack and table where Henry had found the food, the rest of theÂ land remained a tropical beach. From what Henry had noticed so far, a forest beganÂ where the sand ended, and if he were to walk deeper, he might find running water.
Taking one last piece of fruit, Henry stepped towards the shack, whose door frameÂ was covered only by a transparent sheet of white fabric. He moved closer, for behind theÂ cloth he saw a young woman sleeping, her body outstretched on a small rectangularÂ section of bedding against the wall.
He took another step, only to make out the image of her face, framed in a glossy maneÂ of raven black hair. However, with that step, a deep, haunting growl sounded from theÂ border of the jungle. Just as quickly as Henry had shifted his eyes to observe the noise, aÂ black panther, long and sleek, emerged from the woods. Fearless, the creature soaredÂ through the air and pounced on top of Henry. Before he could understand what wasÂ happening, the snarling black cat held an enormous paw over him, and then swiped itsÂ claws across his chest.
Henry wailed in panic and terror, using his arms to push the cat off him, as it pinnedÂ him to the ground by the flat of his back. The creature clawed at HenryÂ’s stomach inÂ protest, while the young man did the best he could to protect his face.
During the struggle, Henry had never felt so near the bottom of the food chain in allÂ his life. He was paralyzed with fear as the great cat hovered over his body, with such aÂ close distance that no human ever lived to talk about. But what terrified Henry the most,Â above the shiny, slimy white fangs, were the pantherÂ’s piercing green eyes, so alive withÂ the greenery of the forest, that they could have been cut from the leaves of a vine for allÂ he knew. They were so perfectly round and rigid, that they nearly looked like stones,Â though not the exact color of emerald. And yet it was these catÂ’s eyes, those jungle eyes,Â which made his heart stop.
Â“Jade,Â” a soft, transcendent voice called from above. The cat retreated immediately,Â slowly walking away from Henry.
Sunlight shone on HenryÂ’s face as he lay flat, still on the ground. He lowered his eyes,Â horrified by the blood stains on his white ocean-soaked shirt. But then, the face of a lovelyÂ woman stood before the sun, blocking out its light. Henry looked up at her, taking in theÂ long, silky black hair; golden, sun-kissed skin; and green eyes Â– so much like the jungle heÂ had just discovered.
She narrowed her eyes, looking over HenryÂ’s body as he felt her pulling him into aÂ trance, mesmerizing him with her beauty. Then, for he had not seen it coming, Henry feltÂ a tremendous pain enter the side of his head. All of a sudden, he noticed an object in herÂ hand that she had just bludgeoned him with. But before the blue sky faded to black, theÂ last thing Henry remembered was the natural hue of her glistening green jungle eyes.
Do you have a set writing schedule that you adhere to? / Tell us how you write
As often as I can, as much as I can. Usually at night, but all throughout the day, too. Essentially, if IÂ’mÂ not eating or sleeping, there is a pen in my hand.
Tell us about your book.
Jungle Eyes is the tale of Henry Rochester, a twenty-five-year-old New Yorker stranded on a desertedÂ island in the year 1899 with a beautiful stranger. ItÂ’s a period romance dependent upon extremeÂ circumstances. I havenÂ’t had an idea like it before or since.
Was this book inspired by something in particular?
A combination of things. Visually, the island is inspired by KatyÂ’s Perry music video for Â“RoarÂ” and theÂ Blue Lagoon films. I wanted to write about a jungle where the most beautiful creatures are lurking,Â yet what seems like paradise can turn deadly in a matter of seconds. It was thrilling, because I had yetÂ to have any of my characters experience this kind of danger before. But I loved every minute that I gotÂ to spend in the jungle.
How do you relax?
Binge-watching The Fall or Miami Vice. I donÂ’t really get the chance to watch much TV, but when I do,Â I make the most of it.
What is your favorite movie?
Gone with the Wind. My grandmother can take credit for that one. When I was a child, I would haveÂ sleepovers with my younger cousins at her house. Those were the best nights ever, because sheÂ would let us stay up late, eat frozen pizza, and watch Rhett Butler. It was like a dream.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
To learn more about me and my work, you can check out this cool interview that I did over theÂ holidays. I talk about writing, true love, my Johnny Depp obsession, and how Twilight first inspired meÂ to pick up the pen. Watch here: Lindsay Marie Miller Author Interview