Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why Africa? By Stephanie Tyler...


I always tell people that I could easily live in Africa and it’s totally true. My love for the country of Tanzania was born out of the very first date I ever had with my now husband. See, he was born in Songea and he told this fascinating story of how his great grandfather went to Africa from Poland during WWII. He’d lost his leg and his three daughters in the detainment camps and he and his wife survived and moved to Africa to build refugee camps for the Peace Corps. So Zoo’s father was born there – his mom was born in Brooklyn and she went to Africa to visit a cousin who was getting a PhD in African studies and she met Zoo’s dad and she ended up making a month’s trip into a year. And when they got married, she moved there and stayed for nine years.

So when Zoo and I got married, I knew we’d be going to Africa on our honeymoon. It was so spectacular and so tragic at the same time, it was almost overwhelming. I mean, you’d be walking around this beautiful resort and you’d turn a corner to find a soldier carrying a big-assed rifle. So you always knew that there was some kind of danger near you at all times. We landed in Arusha the same day they’d bombed the embassies in Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, where his aunt lives, thought security would be huge. Instead, we dragged our own luggage out from under the plane, across the tarmac and went through a security line in three seconds flat. And somehow, it was still okay.

There’s a different rhythm there. I’m from New York, close to the city and we move really fast, never-stopping. And in Africa, that does not happen. If someone says they’ll pick you up at 9AM in Africa, it means anywhere from 9AM to say, noon, and no doubt, it’s closer to noon. And the longer you’re there, the more you begin to not care about time. You slow down, notice the little things, appreciate the good food, the time spend simply hanging out and talking.

We went on Safari several times, to different parts of Tanzania, to Zanzibar, made some great discoveries, like the Boma, which is part of the Trade, not Aid program. We visited the clinic Zoo was born in. And, like I mention in Hard to Hold and Too Hot, we were pulled over with our driver trying to get back to our hotel on safari by two men posing as police. They wanted money – we gave it to them. We were lucky. It happened again with real police in Dar Es Salaam. And while it was a reminder of where I was and how careful I had to be, it still didn’t take away from the gorgeous safaris, the wonderfully generous locals and, of course, the famous roads.

So really, Africa has a place in my heart forever and, obviously, a place in my books. So much beauty and danger in one place, and that’s really what romantic suspense is all about, right?

The Giveaway is now closed to entries! Thank you to everyone who came by and visited Steph while she was here at DIK. Steph will announce the lucky winner at her blog on Monday morning!

A big thank you again to Steph for sharing her DIK favorites, today's wonderful story, and being such a fun guest on the island!


Stephanie Tyler writes Romantic Suspense for Bantam Dell and Harlequin Blaze, as well as co-writing Paranormal Erotic Romance under the pen-name Sydney Croft. She lives in New York with her husband and her daughter.

31 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

I like the story, I have never been there but I would like to see the nature

INCiDeNT said...

I've always wanted to go Africa myself, namely to see the wildlife and nature there. I love how you describe it as a place of both beauty & danger & how you incorporate that in the genre you're working in. :)

booklover0226 said...

If I ever visited Africa, I'm sure I would leave speechless. There is so much beauty and wonder to be seen.

Thanks,
Tracey D

Lori T said...

What an amazing experience. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be and I am very glad that you were able to experience it. Have you been back since your honeymoon?

Have a great weekend.

ErotRomReader (Janna) said...

I've been in Africa (Gambia) and what struck me most was the poverty but yet the happiness of the people. We felt a bit awkward for our wealth and all the attention the locals gave us. They can learn us some valuable things about life, things we tend to forget...

sula said...

Well, I know that I will be living in Africa again at some point in my future since I married a man from there. :) My time in the Peace Corps in W. Africa was very fulfilling. I certainly learned more from my African colleagues than they probably learned from me. heh.

DH and I plan to move back to the continent at some point when we get the education and job skills to advance in our careers. I'd much rather raise my children over there than here. People may think that money and wealth and the outward "things" that we enjoy here in the U.S. means it's automatically better, but I think there is something much deeper about a shared community and an ability to find joy in simplicity. :)

Lea said...

Morning Steph!!

What a wonderful story. My closest friend's daughter has spent a significant amount of time in Africa working with children. She loves the continent and while she is currently in Kuwait teaching I know she will return to Africa at some point. I think it is in her heart too.

Thanks again for spending the past 3 days with us Steph!!

Best
L

Scorpio M. said...

Hi Stephanie, thanks for sharing some of your personal history, it's really amazing. I definitely felt your respect for the African landscape come through in Hard To Hold.

LSUReader said...

What a great story and beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.

joder said...

Those are great pictures and such an exotic locale! I would love to go there one day!

Amanda said...

Hi Stephanie, thank you for being here on the island with us! Its been a pleasure and what a great story.
I've never been to Africa but my BF and I would love to go together at some point.

Hope you enjoyed your stay on the Island!

Blanche said...

Hi Stephanie!

What a wonderful post! Africa is on our wishlist of places we would love to see before our time is over!! The pictures are amazing, thanks for sharing them with us!!

Isabel said...

Wonderful post, I hope to one day go on a African safari.

Jessica said...

Thanks for telling a much needed story, Stephanie. I know for myself I 'forget' that these is a whole big world out there! Sometime out daily grind really does grind us down. Then comes along someone who brings the world to our door and makes want to be a part of it...thanks you. The pictures are wonderful, it's nice to see animals without bars or railings around them.

Virginia C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virginia C said...

Hi, Stephanie! Thank you for the great post and pictures. Two wonderful love stories: The one between you and your husband, and also the one between his great-grandparents.

maered said...

What a great honeymoon! I have always wanted to go on a safari in Africa. Glad you enjoyed it so much.

Maija A. said...

I have heard great things about Tanzania, because my high school friend always told stories about how she used to live there for many years in her childhood (we are both from a very cold Finland, and Africa is a pretty far away from us...).

oklanannie said...

Thanks for sharing your stories of Africa, Stephanie.

And thanks for sharing your time this week with us. I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of Chris's book on the 26th!

Mary G said...

Great post Stephanie. It's been great getting to know you. Thanks Lea.

Stephanie Tyler said...

Happy Saturday everyone! I'm deep in reading a ms that heads to my editor on Monday *fingers crossed*

Hope you're all having some time off :)

I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

Lori T, yes, I've been back since then - we actually drove from Dar to Songea with my husband's parents (those were some 12 hour days of driving that were looong) but it was fun.

Janna, that's such a perfect description and sula, I would move there in a second if I didn't have a child with a lot of medical problems. That's the rub for us but as she gets older and her bi-yearly operations stop, we have plans :)

Seriously, all of you who mentioned wanted to go, you should. It's a trip of a lifetime, and everyone I know whose gone has not been disappointed.

MsM said...

What a beautiful post!

Thank you for sharing Africa from your experiences.

:o)

MsM

Katie Reus said...

What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing that with us. Africa is one of the places I've always wanted to visit :)

Mitzi H. said...

Africa has alway intrigued me. I'd love to go there one day. You sound as though you have had some very interesting travels.

mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

Linda Henderson said...

Africa sounds wonderful. I would love to see the wildlife and scenery.

Nikki said...

I cannot imagine how beautiful it is there. I would really enjoy going on Safari, maybe in a hot air balloon.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Wow, Africa sounds wonderful and terribly scary all at the same time. While in college, I took an African studies class only to be appalled by the starvation that the drought was causing. Such a beautiful venue, yet being lost.

Thanks for reminding me of Africa's beauty.

Dottie :)

Amber E. said...

Hi Stephanie! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story. I've never been to Africa, but would love to go there sometime.

Jane said...

I would love to visit Africa one day. I want to see all the wildlife, Victoria Falls and the Serengeti.

Ciara said...

I love it when authors put their real life traveling experiences in their books, allowing me to be an armchair traveler. ;) I've always wanted to go to Africa. My parents were in the Peace Corps in Malawi and I was almost born there. Someday I'll make the pilgrimage to see the places they talk about. Thanks for sharing!

Lea said...

Hi Everyone!

Thanks for visiting Steph while on the island.

The Giveaway is now closed.

Best
Lea

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