Dec 19, 2011

Drive-by Inspiration by Natalie Anderson

A Hagglund (All Terrain Vehicle 
used in Antarctica)
 parked across the road from
the US program HQ. 
***EDITED to add the COVER and BLURB*** - MELT should be going live online in the next couple of hours - yay!!!

Often writers get asked 'where do you get your ideas from?' Well, I've been driving past this idea for years now, until it bugged me so much the story just had to be written.

I live in Christchurch which is sometimes referred to as 'The Gateway to Antarctica'. From here scientists, students, media, awesomely lucky writers and artists board big gray planes and head on down to that last untamed spot on earth - Antarctica. The New Zealand Antarctic program leaves from here and the US has a program based here as well.

Many go down for the 3/4 summer months, some for only a week or two and some for the full 6/7 month 'wintering over' experience.

Wrapped pallets of 'stuff' waiting
to be taken down to the ice.
Now I drive past the airport all the time, (Christchurch isn't the biggest city on earth). Down one side road, there is a wire fence all around a massive stretch of tar seal, and on that seal they line up all the gear that goes into the planes to be taken down 'to the ice'. There are so many pallets, all neatly wrapped, there's heavy machinery, food, generators, thousands of condoms, shipping containers, boutique beer to stock the bars, fuel tanks, carpentry tools and so on...

(Yes, you read that right about the condoms!) All the gear is loaded up through the summer months as the planes go down regularly. They have to have everything they need down there - for the busy 'visitor heavy' summer months and the long, long dark winter when no planes can get down (and apparently they 'need' all those condoms).

Well who doesn't imagine what it must be like down there? Who wouldn't love to go see the penguins and other wildlife? To get a sense of that vast environment?

I've always wanted to go, I've stared at all that cargo so many times, I've read all the articles that crop up in our local paper, I've talked to people who have been down there, I've been to the local Antarctic Centre that's across the road from the airport and been in the snow storm simulator room... and I've imagined, dreamed and of course, come up with a story :)

Why would someone be going down there? What would it be like? And what would they do for fun in that freezing place??? (Yes, Those condoms keep springing to mind don't they?!)

All this machinery and these containers go!
So all this drive-by rubber-necking is partly how my new novella was born - I have a wonderfully generous but loner hero who's literally putting himself 'on ice' for the festive season, and an untrusting artist who's gone down to make a name for herself. She's as much 'on ice' as he - because she has a mural to paint and no time to waste - even if it's summer and there is nothing but daylight down there...




When two frozen hearts collide…

Emma Reed closed her heart to love years ago after a lifetime spent getting kicked around foster homes and bad relationships. Now she's on a mission to prove she deserves her recent award to paint a mural for a research base in Antarctica. Nothing and no one is going to get in her way.

After months working in recovery zones around the world, Hunter Wilson planned to escape everything this holiday season by rebuilding a lab at the Kiwi Research Base. Alone. No to family, no to fun. It’s isolation not intimacy he’s aching for. But when he sees the determined artist, that ache becomes an urge – after all, shouldn’t someone show her what two people can do with twenty-four hours of brilliant
sunlight?
 
In the coldest place on earth, even the most frozen hearts can melt.



MELT is out later TODAY from Entangled Publishing (and will be up on Amazon) - and yes, I did another drive-by yesterday to snap these pictures just for you!!!

So tell me, is 'going to Antarctica' on your bucket list like it is mine???

28 comments:

  1. Natalie, going to Antarctica is at the TOP of my bucket list and has been for a long time. I can't imagine anywhere more beautiful and raw. When I worked in the lab in Nelson we did the blood tests for locals applying to go down there for the summer and I was always a little green with envy. I've also got my hero in my next book heading down there for summer - off the page unfortunately.

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  2. Natalie, that's fascinating. Loved the photos!

    I don't cope well with the cold, so I'm not that keen to visit, except maybe on the big ships that do stopovers there. But I love to read about it! Can't wait to get your novella and immerse myself in the setting. (And the title is perfect!)

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  3. Hi Sue - yes, I know what you mean about the envy!!! They certainly have to go through a thorough medical if they're going down to winter over - if I remember right, there was one woman down there who treated her own cancer through the winter after they air dropped her the meds - full on stuff!!!

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  4. Rachel - I know, extreme cold tends to turn me into an immovable blimp - but inside the bases it's actually quite warm - as in tee-shirt and jeans warm. So that wouldn't be too bad, right?!

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  5. I'd love to go to Antarctica, just think during the summer you'll have a white Christmas :)

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  6. I'm a frog so don't much like the cold, but I do love the unbelievable sense of adventure some folk must have to venture all the way down there.
    I did some research for a book on survival and found out that the largest animal to survive in the heart of the south pole is a half-inch midge that utilises a natural anti-freeze agent in its blood so as not to freeze up. No matter how warm its blood, can't help but imagine reproduction would be a real challenge.
    Congrats on "Melt", Nat!

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  7. Hmm... I have Moscow on my bucket list and I think that might be as cold as I'm prepared to go. LOL, but there's cold and then there's COLD. And Antarctica definitely falls into the COLD camp.

    That said, MELT sounds fabulous! Can't wait to read it, Nat!

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  8. Natalie - Melt sounds fabulous - another great book for my Kindle! As for Antartica???? Well, I live in the Wide Bay area in Queensland, which apparently is the fifth most temperate climate in the world. And Antartica sounds like all kinds of freezing. So, maybe not on my list, but I can always read about it :)

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  9. Yes, Natalie, Antartica is on my bucket list. A friend went on a Russian icebreaker trip when we left uni - she took out a loan to pay for it. I scoffed. Now, 20+ years later, she's been and I'm still wanting to go and I bet that loan's paid for long ago!! Silly me. Should have gone with her, loan and all!

    I'll have to add MELT to my to buy list :)

    Cath

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  10. Hi Natalie

    There's something fascinating about Antarctica and I would love to go for a visit. A friend has been on one of those shipboard expeditions and the photographs are spectacular.

    MELT sounds like a great way to explore from my armchair! Congratulations on this new release!

    :)
    Sharon

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  11. Many years ago, many indeed, I read that to go to Antarctica you had to have had your appendix out. No-one wants a burst appendix so far from medical aid. Different nowadays no doubt - hence the many. When I had my appendix out, going to Antarctica made my list.

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  12. Julie-ann - you're so right! ;) And indeed Emma, the heroine in MELT gets exactly that!

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  13. Robyn - absolutely! Those insects get a mention in MELT ;) Isn't it amazing the way creatures adapt?! Some kinds of lichen or moss actually grow INSIDE the rock down there because it's too cold to grow on the outside! And then they have these weird 'ghost' fish that have no haemoglobin!
    FREAKY :)

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  14. Michelle -yes col, definitely cold. But imagine the adventure!!!!!!!

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  15. Helen - yes, come and read about it :)
    I wouldn't want to go for long, but I would really like to go for a little while :)

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  16. Catherine - oh wow - your friend had some adventurous spirit huh?! But you know, there's still time for you to go jump onboard a Russian icebreaker!!! LOL :)

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  17. thanks Sharon - yes, those ship tours must be amazing (but I admit they make me think of the Titanic!). I think I'm in love with the planes having driven past them SO many times - I get the itchy zing in my blood every time I go past the airport!

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  18. Marybelle - yes, they put you through some medical hoops I believe!!! Wouldn't want a burst appendix anywhere let alone there! Hmm - would I have my appendix out if it guaranteed me a trip to Antarctica!? Actually, I probably would!!!

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  19. Nat, I had no idea Antarctica was on your bucket list! Should I confess that I've been there? I spent five weeks there as a field assistant on an expedition sent by my university geology department. Loved it loved it loved it. I have toyed about writing a romance set there -- but mine would feature a military helicopter pilot (they ferried us around down there and brought out all our supplies while we were camped away from Scott Base) and a scientist...

    I hope you get down there one day. It is THE most amazing place!

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  20. Marybelle, how interesting about having to be appendix-free. That prompted my memory about a doctor who went there (Russian, I think?) who had to operate on himself to take out his own appendix. I just Googled (couldn't resist!) and here's the link...
    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/03/antarctica-1961-a-soviet-surgeon-has-to-remove-his-own-appendix/72445/

    Em, you've spent five weeks there! Wow! You know you have to blog about this to tell us more now, don't you!

    :)
    Sharon

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  21. Emily - I might just have to hate you right now!!! LOL - you lucky, lucky thing!!! You have to write that story!!! Think a pilot would be veeeeeery nice! Or is the pilot female?! That'd be a great twist :)
    When we eventually get to Hanmer - which we HAVE to do, you can tell me it all - I've had to rely a lot on Youtube! - The *things* people put up there!!!! ;)

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  22. Hi Sharon - wow -what a story!!!! Imagine having to do that?!?!

    I'm shuddering in the corner...

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  23. Hi Natalie ~ I can't say that going to Antarctica has been on my bucket list but I can see why it would be on yours. That shipment yard would be like a siren's song.

    Emily I would love to hear more about your time spent there. I'm a great armchair traveler.

    Just want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the 2012!

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  24. Congratulations on Melt, Nat! The cold and I don't mix, so Antarctica has never been on the todo list. But I'm more than willing to read about it ;)

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  25. Kaelee - that's exactly what it is - every time we drive by - I think with it being right on our back doorstep and having had so many great Kiwi's do such awesome things down there, we are drawn to it more than others perhaps?!

    Merry Christmas to you too :)

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  26. Thanks Kelly! It's funny isn't it, you're either a warm climes person or not. I find it easier to get warm than to cool down so I prefer the cold. But honestly, I think it's the vast, untamed aspect to the ice that really intrigues me :)

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  27. Ah Nat - would LOVE to go. I did consider it at one stage because you can get arts grants to go there but one of the necessary criteria was the abiltiy to climb a cargo net up the side of those big ice-breakers and since I can barely climb up to my washing line without getting dizzy I thought that was probably not the right way to get there for me :)

    But a friend went and spent a night on the ice in a super-sleeping bag. Didn't sleep a wink partly because it was as bright as day all night and party because a bunch of penguins decided she was in their path from the water back up tot heir rookery and she was being stepped on all night by determined and law-abiding penguins who didn't want to leave the approved trail.

    Really looking forward to reading Melt. I have 'penguin story' on my list of projects to come and that was set in Antarctica, too. (Think of the research!!!)

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  28. Thanks so much Nikki - apparently the all night light is something else,! That's funny about the penguins - I do love penguins - I look forward to reading your story once you've gotten to it!! :)

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