I have a confession to make: I was a bad fangirl. When I first submitted The Fangirl’s Dream
to my publisher, Decadent Publishing, I was still reveling in my TV boyfriend hangover and memories of visiting the Yucatan a while back. It’s not my fault. I mean, I didn’t do it on purpose. How could I help it, distracted by the possibility of writing out my primetime lust, consummating my character crush? Mary Sue much?
Here it is: I got some details in the book wrong. I know!! What was I thinking (besides about how they were gonna do it, and where, how often, and if palm leaves would stick to their butts while they were doing it)? I was a very bad fangirl, and I should be punished for not paying closer attention to my scenes, my hero, my heroine, the lush scenery I created for them to roll around and bang their brains out.
The thing is, when I visited the Yucatan a few years ago, I was in Belize, which is a very different terrain from the setting of my newest release, The Fangirl’s Dream. The book is set in the northern Yucatan Peninsula, sort of central, land-locked Chichen Itza. The locations aren’t terribly far apart, however, the bioregional difference is significant, and had I not changed it would have ruined my cred.
Originally, when I threw Siler and her TV boyfriend, Farraj, in the middle of the jungle, I had in mind the lush, dense, Cave River area of Belize in mind. Belize is very green and wet, and the wildlife sustained by that area is plentiful and evident on its surface. Been there, done that, saw it for myself. I’m sure that people living on the more rocky limestone shelf that is the arid,dry, region of the northern Yucatan sustain from what lives beneath it just fine. But my trapped foreigners (and their dumbass author) wouldn’t know how to take care of themselves as easily in this jungle setting.
This difference presented a couple of problems in the plot, most of which became apparent to me after the chance viewing of a documentary on the northern Yucatan. First, there are no above ground rivers there, as in Belize. All water runs below the limestone shelf, thus the quaint dining scene in which Siler sat by Farraj’s side as he fished their meal from a stream had to be rewritten. The only fish in that area come from cenotes, which was a great fix to my dilemma, though required me to add several hundred feet between Farraj and his water source, as well as toss a few extra implements to his backpack. Also, Siler couldn’t see what he was doing fishing in this manner, so the monologue in her head changed to watching him prepare the meal.
Second, though having lesser impact on the plot, I had to change what foods could be eaten raw. I’d originally written in yucca, which was just silly. Did I want them puking and poisoned in the rainforest? No. That’s no good. Definitely not sexy. So, pitaya it was.
In all, I caught my errors in time and rewrote what was needed to make the story true to the setting, thus the characters comfortably upset in their surroundings. I sighed, my editor laughed (again).
The moral of the story is, know your shit. Be a good fangirl. Do your homework, so that if you do find yourself having to rescue your TV boyfriend, you can at least write in a cenote, and not send him searching for rivers that don’t exist.