When the concept for writing my fourth novel began to form in my cranium, I decided that teaming up my protagonists, Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders in their first appearance in a book together. I knew this would require me to do some serious research to ensure the readers would believe the words put down on paper. There was never a chance I would spend a year or more writing a tale involving these two fine gentlemen without the diligence of powerful exploration and research.
That is the hallmark of any good writing. Without painstaking research, a writer risks ending up with a tale without merit. Fictional writing may be what wordsmith’s make out of their creative genius, but good fiction must resemble non-fiction to the audience.
When I read a novel, I want to be taken away from the present reality and thrust into a new reality. What I did not realize when the genesis for the idea for ‘Iquitos – the Past Will Kill’ sprang to life, was that I would be spending a month in the darkness of the Amazon rainforest.
But if the novel requires a jungle, then the writer must experience the jungle. Only with the truth of experience, can the tale be woven with credibility and the senses engaged.
The forest comes alive at night, and hunkered beneath mosquito netting while swinging in the heavy moist air in a hammock, one senses how much safer it is to be inside than outside. More than once in the cacophony of night sounds, something outside would let loose with a scream and suddenly only silence invaded the air.
During the daylight, all one did was sweat in the ninety percent humidity while wishing for a breeze. This is a hostile environment and not meant for the faint of heart. Every step must be calculated so one doesn’t step onto or in front of something life-threatening lurking in the canopy or the floor.
The rainforest is a dangerous place.
On a previous trip to Peru, my wife, Laureen, and I had made close friends with a naval commander who was able to organize our Amazonian adventure, including a ride-along in the one of the fastest naval boats on the river. This small boat, a necessity when searching for smugglers and others with dark intent, was capable of speeds in excess of sixty knots on the wide and dark river and sported two fifty caliber machine guns. It was a fitting vessel for Jonas, who was the only character to venture into the Amazon, to hitch a ride and explore firsthand the magnitude of one of the largest rivers in the world.
Islands would appear out of nowhere – the shores teaming with life. Howler monkeys kept eyes on us as we swept by the land masses as toucans and macaws flew overhead. The skies were often covered with heavy rain clouds ready at any minute to unleash a deluge. Often without warning the sky would open up, and we would suddenly be drenched but smiling as felt the thrill of research – to be somewhere not expected and enjoying every minute of it.
After nearly a month on the trail with Paul Bakas, our good friend and photographer for our blog, J and L Research and Exploration, we were satisfied with the research.
It takes a special type of person to make it day to day in the jungle. We made it, but only with the support of a guide, food and lukewarm beer, and of course, the repeated warnings of the dangers behind every bush. We were spoiled.
As Laureen observed as we headed back home: “That was the best trip I never want to take again.”
‘Iquitos – the Past Will Kill’ is a novel based on an explosive event which sends Jonas Peters back into the wilds of Peru and the Amazon jungle as the past comes rushing to the future, with deadly results for those involved. It is a journey of discovery and sorrow for both Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders, but the story must be told as all stories must.
John R. Beyer spent nearly ten years in law enforcement in Southern California as a street cop, a training officer and a member of the elite SWAT team. After leaving the force, he continued in public service entering the field of education. During his tenure, he served as classroom teacher, school administrator and district administrator, and was an integral part of the gang and drug force in San Bernardino. While in both worlds he earned a Doctorate in School Administration and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.
During all those years, he never gave up the passion for writing – both fiction and nonfiction. He has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and the like for decades, writing on a variety of topics. His latest short stories in the past year can be found in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine (2016) and GNU Journal (2017). He is also the author of three highly praised internationally known novels – Hunted (2013), Soft Target (2014) and Operation Scorpion (2017).
His newest novel, ‘Iquitos – the Past Will Kill’, will be released in November of 2018 by Black Opal Books bringing two of his protagonists together for their first investigation. Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders will work hand in hand with an international incident which left undetected could cause a catastrophic issue for the United States. They are friends and they are good at what they do. Catching the bad guys.