Finding Romance In The Remote Antarctic
SOMETIMES A LOVE STORY IS NOT AS SIMPLE AS IT SEEMS AND THAT MAYBE CASE MANY ROMANTIC NOVEL BY MY GUEST. THE STORY IS SET ON BOARD AND ARCTIC BOWED RESEARCH VESSEL AND IS THE PROTAGONIST DEAL WITH THEIR OWN EMOTIONAL DRAMAS, ONE OVERRIDING DRAMA UNFOLDS. ANTARCTICA, THE MOST REMOTE CONTINENT ON EARTH IS NOT ESCAPING THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE. JOINING ME IS THE DRAYMOND. -- Midge Raymond, author, "My Last Continent" WHAT DID YOU SEE INACCURATE -- IN ARVIKA THAT ENDS BY DESPAIR. IS A VAST BEAUTY OF ICEBERGS, CREATURES WHO LIVE WITHOUT PREDATORS AND WHAT INSPIRED THE BOOK WAS THE CONCERN OF THE NATURALISTS ON THE EXPEDITION WE WERE ON WHO WERE CONCERNED ABOUT THE LARGER AND LARGER TORCHES STARTING TO VISIT ANTARCTICA BACK THEN. TERSENESS INCREASED SINCE 2004 IT HAS DOUBLED TO OVER THE 40,000 PASSENGERS A YEAR. MOST PEOPLE COME BY BOAT. THE EXPRESSION FOR THE NOVEL, WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF ALL THIS TOURISM? WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED THE NATURALISTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT. WHY DID YOU GO TO ANTARCTICA? I WENT AS A PASSENGER. A CITIZEN EXPLORER. IT'S THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF ANTARCTIC TOURISM AND I'VE ALWAYS BEEN AN AVID TRAVELER. I'VE BEEN LIVING IN CITIES LAST SEVERAL YEARS OF MY LIFE, NEW YORK AND BOSTON AND THE APPEAL OF A PLACE THERE ARE NO PERMANENT HUMAN RESIDENTS AND WILDLIFE IN THE VAST ISOLATION REALLY APPEAL TO ME. I READ YOU ARE A VOLUNTEER PAYMENT RESEARCHER. YES. ONE OF THE NATURALISTS AS A PAYMENT EXPERT AND SHE HAS BEEN STUDYING A COLONY IN ARGENTINA FOR 30 YEARS. A FEW YEARS AFTER THE TRIP SHE WAS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS TO HELP WITH THE PENGUIN CENSUS. HAS WHEN I SIGNED UP AND THAT WAS AN AMAZING EXPENSE. YOU HAVE HAD AN EXTENSIVE FAMILIARITY WITH INCREMENTAL CAUSES. IF A PUBLISHING HOUSE FOCUSED ON ENVIRONMENTALISTS LITERATURE. DID THAT ALSO SORT OF DEVELOPED WITH YOUR VISITING THESE REMOTE AREAS? I CAN YES. WHEN YOU VISIT THESE PLACES YOU GET A SENSE OF THE BEAUTY OF THE WORLD IN PLACES WHERE HUMANS HAVEN'T YET TAKEN OVER BUT ALSO THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTECTING IT. AND HOW EVERYTHING WE DO IN EVERY CORNER OF THE PLANET AFFECTS ANOTHER PART OF THE PLANET. IN YOUR BOOK, HOW DO WE ROMANCE WITH YOUR INCREMENTAL MESSAGE? BECOMES THE CHARACTER OF DEV WHO IS CREATED SHORTLY AFTER I RETURNED AND THE CHARACTER STUCK WITH ME. THAT GREW INTO A NOVEL. I JUST WANTED TO GIVE HER A RELATIONSHIP. SHE'S A CHARACTER WHO SPENDS MOST OF HER TIME AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD AND IN ORDER TO HAVE HER FIND LOVE AND HAD TO BE SOMEONE WITH THE SAME APPRECIATION. HAVING LOVE STORIES OF GREAT WAY TO DRAW READERS. IT CREATES CONFLICT AND ROMANCE. IS THIS A WAY TO USE OF FICTION OF ENVIRONMENT ISSUES. I THINK PATIENT HAS A POWER AND NONFICTION DOESN'T IN TERMS OF OPENING PEOPLE'S MINDS AND HEARTS TO ALL OF THESE ISSUES BECAUSE YOU CAN CONNECT WITH FICTION IN A MORE INTIMATE WAY. THEY LEARN ALONG THE WAY. WHAT COUNTS IS THE STORY, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO A ROMANCE. YOU WOULD THINK THE ISOLATION WOULD BE A GREAT FIT FOR ROMANTIC NOVEL. HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO DO THAT? IT'S A CONUNDRUM BECAUSE YOU HAVE THIS VAST ICICLE PLACE. HOW DO WARM THAT WITH CHARACTERS? IT CAME DOWN TO THEIR LOVE AND PASSION FOR THE PLACE. I WAS OUT OF IT AS A THIRD-PARTY. LOVE THE CONVOCATIONS, HOW TO MAKE IT WORK WHEN WE BOTH WANT TO BE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD AND HOW DO WE KEEP GETTING BACK TO THIS PLACE AND STAY TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME? HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO LIVE THERE EVEN PART-TIME? IT'S VERY CHALLENGING. IT TAKES A LOT OF TIME TO GET THERE. THE ONLY INHABITANTS ARE RESEARCHERS AND SCIENTISTS WHO LIVE THERE. MOST OF THE STATIONS ARE FULL CAPACITY WHEN IT'S WARMER. THAT'S THE LARGEST BASE, THEY ARE AT 1200 IN THE SUMMER MONTHS AND IN THE WINTER IT STRINGS DOWN -- SHRINKS DOWN TO 200. GETTING THROUGH WINTER MUST BE SOMETHING? IT SOUNDS AMAZINGLY CHALLENGING. IT'S COMPLETELY DARK MOST OF THE TIME. GETTING A BOOK LIKE THIS COULD REACH AN AUDIENCE THAT A TYPICAL INCREMENTAL MESSAGE COULDN'T? I HOPE SO. I THINK IT WOULD HAVE AN APPEAL TO A LOT OF READERS AND THAT'S MY HOPE THAT PEOPLE, LIKE A GOOD LOVE STORY WILL BE DRAWN TO IT. PEOPLE WHO WANT TO LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT PART OF THE WORLD AND INTERESTED IN THE INVENTOR OF THE SHIPWRECK. WHEN YOU CALL IT MY LAST CONTINENT, WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM? THAT COMES FROM A LINE IN THE BOOK IN WHICH THE CHARACTER DEBORAH IS TALKING TO PASSENGER ACCESS THERETO KINDS OF PEOPLE THAT GO. THOSE HAVE RUN OUT OF PLACES TO GO AND THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN OUT OF PLACES TO HIDE. AS THE DYNAMIC I WAS PLAYING WITH IN THE STORY. WHO ENDED UP IN THIS PLACE AND TIME AND HOW DID THEY GET THERE? SHE WILL BE SPEAKING ABOUT HER BOOK MY LAST CONTINENT AND WORKS BOOKS ARE TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM.
Midge Raymond's "My Last Continent" book signing
When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 28
Where: Warwick's, 7812 Girard Ave.
When writer Midge Raymond went on an expedition to Antarctica in 2004, she was on a small boat with about 100 other people. On board, some naturalists shared their concern that ecosystem was getting disrupted by large cruise ships filled with tourists eager to set foot on the ice continent.
Raymond was quickly inspired to write about the conflict between this vulnerability and the desire to show concerned environmentalists the Antarctic firsthand.
"The isolation appealed to me as well," Raymond said.
Her debut novel, "My Last Continent," is set on board an Antarctica-bound research vessel, with a pair of naturalists playing out their own romantic drama.
Raymond, who with her husband owns a small publishing house devoted to environmentally-conscious fiction, said fiction was the ideal vehicle for her message about climate change.
"We believe in the power of fiction to open hearts and minds to issues, including the environment," Raymond said. "There’s so much non-fiction and I find people shy away from it a little bit. It can be so depressing. Even me, as an environmentalist. Someone who doesn’t believe in climate change would never pick up a book about it, but if they’re interested about shipwrecks, they may pick up my book."
Raymond joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday to share her experiences on the seventh continent.