By Isabel Jolie
Last June (of the year that shall not be named) my family and I descended upon Bald Head Island for a two-week vacation. Signs of the pandemic wrapped around us as we unloaded our car and prepared to board the ferry. Everyone wore masks, and those in line whispered worries about whether or not they’d make this ferry or be stuck waiting for the next one given the lower capacity requirements to meet Covid safety protocols.
We weren’t sure what would await us on the island. It had opened for visitors weeks before we arrived. But we felt a profound need to get away after essentially being locked inside our home since mid-March. In my tote bag I carried several hardback books, plus my trusty ebook reader with a gazillion more. The fringe of an enormous cold front hit as we waited in line, and light rain splattered us. We bought sweatshirts from the SailShop before we ever entered our cottage rental.
For almost all of the next week, it poured. And we didn’t even mind. That was how happy we were to be out of our house and in another. I sat on the covered porch as the rain pelted down, and read The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina. As I read his account of real life events and people, and I stared out at an ocean chock full of white caps, the seed of Rogue Wave sprouted.
It was on that beach vacation that I began my outline for not only Rogue Wave, but for the entire Haven Island series. Because I also read Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, about a modern-day Great Gatsby and a billion dollar scandal that Bill Gates is quoted as calling “thrilling.” And at some point on that vacation, my husband asked me if I had heard of a site called OnlyFans.
So, that second week of our vacation, as we stacked surfboards on top of our golf cart to get to the best location for surfing, the characters of Tate and Luna spun to life. As did Gabe, Poppy, and to some extent, Cali and Logan.
What are some of the cold hard facts that have stayed with me about our lawless ocean? First and foremost, we’re courting environmental disaster. I’m fully aware everyone’s tired of hearing about saving the whales, the turtles and the planet. I purposefully didn’t delve too much into all of the dangers of overfishing, or how complicated a scenario the world faces in regards to policing the ocean (spoiler alert: for all practical purposes, it isn’t policed). And overfishing? Let’s just say when people talk about the dangers of advances in technology, few think about fishing, but maybe we all should. Ian Urbina referred to the ocean as lawless, and others make references to the silver ocean. Silver or gold are probably more apt, because like pretty much everything else in our world, our issues revolve around money and greed.
Adrian Tate grapples with this reality in Rogue Wave. When he meets Luna, she’s everything he used to be. In a way, it’s an opposites attract romance, as he’s in such a different head space. She’s starting out, exactly where he was so long ago. It’s an age gap romance, but the chronological age isn’t the issue – it’s the life experience and the variance in perspective. As so often is the case in life, what starts out as mere sexual attraction, grows into more.
We’re preparing to go back to Bald Head this summer, only this year Rogue Wave and Adrift will be released. I’ll be working on the final edits for First Light, the third book in the series, which is due to my editor on July 4. It’s a bit surreal. We’ll also be vaccinated and maybe this summer masks might not be mandated. Or they may be. Who knows? But the ocean will be waiting, and I can’t wait.
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