I thought it would be fun to share an experience of mine that ended up bleeding over into my writing in my latest novel. If you're not aware, I am an avid camper and hiker. I love spending my time outdoors. For my recent birthday, my wife and I went on a 4 day camping trip. The campground we went to boasted it was one of the only places in Florida to clearly see the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Being from Florida, it's not really a sight I had ever seen and is truly on my bucket list.
Naturally, we swept off to the campground. When we camp, we don't bring an RV or stay in a cabin. I love tent camping. Of course, I don't hike into the middle of the woods with only a backpack, tent, and canned food. We reserve campsites, bring our tent and other gear, and set up for the weekend. I believe the term is "car camping" but I don't like it. It's not exactly "roughing it" but I believe it's closer to nature than an RV.
Naturally, I brought my laptop so that I could sit in the middle of nature and work some more on my book. I was actually in the editing process of Death Can Wait by this time. In the morning, I would get up before the sun, watch it rise, and then get a bit of writing in. It was fantastic.
On the first day, we purchased firewood from the park rangers that morning and went off about our day. We went on a hike, enjoyed a nice lunch, and played a few games. After watching the sunset, darkness began to roll in. So, I got to work building a fire. I should tell you, I'm pretty good at these things. I've been camping most of my life. When I was younger I was in the cub scouts and then the boy scouts when I got older. Lighting a fire is pretty easy, though I wasn't necessarily doing it from scratch.
For some reason, the fire just wouldn't catch. I had to sit there and nurse it to keep it going. Our first meal was to be cooked over the fire, so if I couldn't get it lit we wouldn't have a nice meal. Pressure was on. I think the wood we purchased from the ranger was a bit wet, having been left out in a couple Florida rain showers. There would be a lot of smoke but no fire. I was getting a bit frustrated. Something so simple, to me, was becoming too difficult. I was tempted to drive out to the nearest Wal-Mart and buy a fire starter log, though it was about an hour drive.
Finally, I stood up and ventured away from the campsite and gathered up some dead palm fronds, leaves, and other kindling. I had already used a bit in the fire to get it started, mind you. In my frustration, I tossed a handful into the dwindling flames and it roared to life. You would have thought I had doused it in lighter fluid.
I stood back for a moment and then laughed at my own stupidity. I couldn't believe i didn't think of it sooner, it seemed so obvious. I continued doing this until the fire burned hot enough to scorch the damp logs and finally light. We enjoyed a wonderful meal that night and the fire burned bright all night.
The next morning, after watching the sunset, I picked up my laptop and began to edit. There is a scene in my book, I will refrain from spoilers, in which Renee and Luke are forced to start a fire from scratch. I felt I had made it difficult and believable enough, but decided to throw in my own real life experience in there.
If you've already read the book and remember the scene I'm talking about, let me know in the comments. If you haven't, you can pick up the e-book with most major retailers. Prefer paperback? It's available too! You can find it on Amazon. Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!
Evan Bond, author of To the Wolves and Death Can Wait, is a thriller/suspense author. When not writing, he can be found hiking or camping in the beautiful state of Florida.