~ By Kimberley Troutte
They say write what you know. In my case, a naïve girl’s experiences became fodder for a novel.
Travel with me back in time to the summer I was seventeen and went to South America. Keep going back…back…no, too far! We’re talking the early 80’s, not the Dark Ages. The plan? My friend and I—two teenaged girls—would travel from her small town in Venezuela at the foot of the Andes to the bustling, crime-riddled city of Bogota, Colombia. I didn’t say it was a good plan. Drug cartels were just starting up in those days. Turf wars, extortion, kidnappings, and battles with the government were busting out all over Colombia.
At seventeen, I knew nothing about cartels, drugs, or how dangerous it was to be a girl traveling alone. I just wanted to see the world.
To make this trip, I had to rely on the kindness and generosity of complete strangers. My friend’s mother had instructed a woman to pick me up at the airport outside Customs in Caracas and take me to a hotel for the night. The flight to my friend’s town would leave in the morning. The woman, named Maria (sooo not a unique name in South America), had a picture of me but not the other way around and I didn’t know her last name. Would she be on time? Would I have trouble in Customs? Would anyone understand my limited Spanish? I was terrified. On a different trip, my Venezuelan friend had been robbed at gunpoint in that airport.
Days later, I received my first body search while in line to board the plane to Colombia. Eek, it was the most anyone had ever touched me, let alone strangers. The man right in front of me was packing. Airport security pulled a large concealed gun out of his pants and slammed him up against the wall. Talk about an eye-opener.
Everywhere I turned, kind strangers protected me—a young American girl too naive to know how dangerous the world was. I was blessed and lucky.
Come on back to the present.
My experiences in South America became fodder to write COMING IN HOT, one of the ten books in the SEALs OF SUMMER: MILITARY ROMANCE SUPERBUNDLE available now and is a NY Times Bestseller. In real life, nothing bad happened to me, but I can imagine how a trip could go terribly wrong. I know in my gut what extreme travel agent, Jenna Collins, feels when her clients are kidnapped by militant guerrillas in Colombia—panic, helplessness, fear. She’ll do anything to rescue the family, including hiring SEAL Lt. Commander Mack Riley, whose lean hard body she’d been trying to avoid. Cue action, smoldering heat, explosions, gunfire, and five courageous SEALs…
I have a new saying: Write what you feel, read what you love, and treat people with kindness. Feel free to make the saying your own.
Kimberley Troutte lives in Southern California girl with her amazing hubby, two awesome sons, one old dog, a wild cat, a snake and various other creatures the man/kids/dog inevitably drag in. She has been an accountant, substitute teacher, caterer, financial analyst for a major defense contractor, real-estate broker, aerobics instructor and a freelance writer. With a B.A in Business Economics and a M.S. in Systems Management, she was destined to write romance.
COMING IN HOT is included in the New York Times and USA Today bestseller SEALs OF SUMMER: MILITARY ROMANCE SUPERBUNDLE by Delilah Devlin, Sharon Hamilton, Anne Marsh, Cora Seton, Zoe York, Roxie Riviera, S.M. Butler, Kimberley Troutte, Jennifer Lowery, and Elle James.