Even when I was a little girl I was fascinated by the beauty and wonder of the natural world. I blame my early upbringing in Central America. My family moved to Costa Rica when I was a few months old, so I grew up on a coffee farm in the rain forest. Such a lush vibrant setting wasn’t wasted on me.
When I was three, sitting in the backyard near a blooming bush that had attracted a swarm of swallowtail butterflies, I held my pudgy little finger up in the air. My mom asked me what I was doing. I told her I was waiting for a butterfly to land on my finger.
“Laura, sweetheart, a butterfly isn’t going to land on your finger,” she said, sorry to spoil the moment.
“Yes, it will,” I told her. And it did.
As a young teenager in Florida, I learned there was more to nature than just delicate beauty. I spent countless hours on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. This might not sound like the most treacherous place on earth compared to the Costa Rican jungle, but when the undertow current of those calm Gulf waters claimed the life of a friend’s mother, I understood. Nature is beautiful, but she mustn’t be underestimated.
Working at a zoo gave me another perspective. Wild things are truly wild. No matter the time spent raised by and cared for by humans, they are not ours. The animals I worked with had a depth and intelligence so different than the pets I’d grown accustomed to. I knew I could never forget that.
I’m honored to have the opportunity to write a mystery series that allows me to include domestic animals but also walks a little bit on the wild side.