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Guest blogger: Penelope Janu

11 June 2017

Many people’s connection to the environment—and their appreciation of it—is enhanced by the books they have read. Whether it’s a historical romance set on the high seas, or a contemporary romance set in a coastal town, our oceans and waterways are so much more than a backdrop. Last week the UN celebrated World Oceans Day, which raises global awareness of the environmental challenges faced by our oceans. As many of us are starting to understand, oceans aren’t only important sources of food and medicines, they provide much of the oxygen we breathe, and are a crucial part of the biosphere.

My aunt, a passionate environmentalist long before most people knew anything about climate science, suffered from dementia in her last few years. The thing she enjoyed most at this stage of her life was being close to the sea. What my aunt saw when we visited the beach—sometimes wild and ferocious oceans in a storm, sometimes calm seas dancing at children’s ankles—gave her joy. She felt the beauty of the ocean. She was inspired, curious and energised. And that’s what the environment, and the scene setting that writers do, can give to all of us. Now it is winter, we may be tucked up in bed and wrapped up in blankets—but with a book in our hands, our minds can be somewhere else!

When thinking up the plot for my novel In at the Deep End I started out simple. I wanted my heroine, Harriet, to be an environmentalist, and for the novel to have something to do with the oceans. It is the environment that brings Harriet into contact (and conflict!) with the hero Per, a naval commander and scientist. To complicate things further, Harriet has a terrible fear of deep water, and Per thinks he can help her. There are rough seas ahead before the happy ending!

To help celebrate World Oceans Day I’m giving away a copy of In at the Deep End. To go into the draw to win the book (for a friend if you’ve already read it!) just go to my website here and leave a comment about the ocean. Do you prefer to swim in wild surf or sea pools? Or would you rather view the ocean from a sun lounge on the deck of a cruise liner (while reading a book and sipping a cocktail)? I look forward to finding out!

Penelope Janu

You can find Penelope here: Website | Facebook

In at the Deep End

What woman doesn’t love a real-life hero? Harriet Scott, for one. The fiercely independent daughter of famous adventurers, she grew up travelling the world on the environmental flagship The Watch. So when Harriet’s ship sinks in Antarctica and she has to be rescued by Commander Per Amundsen, an infuriatingly capable Norwegian naval officer and living breathing action hero, her world is turned upside down.

Like their namesakes, the original Scott and Amundsen who competed to reach the South Pole first, Per and Harriet have different ways of doing things. Per thinks Harriet is an accident waiting to happen; Harriet thinks Per is a control freak. But when Harriet realises that Per is the only one who can help her fund the new ship she desperately wants, she is forced to cooperate with him.

Per refuses to assist unless Harriet allows him to teach her to swim. But there is more to Harriet’s terrible fear of water than meets the eye. Can Harriet face her fears and come to terms with the trauma and loss of her past? And will she begin to appreciate that some risks are well worth taking—and that polar opposites can, in fact, attract?

In at the Deep End is published by Harlequin Mira, and available in print and ebook. It is available from Booktopia.


One Comment
  1. 14 June 2017 10:34 am

    Hi Penelope

    That is a great post and I too love the sea it is so relaxing for me probably why I love cruising so much 🙂 and walks along the beach in all seasons and sitting on a veranda watching and just laying in bed listening to the surf brings back a lot of memories for me from my childhood of holidays by the beach. I really enjoyed this book Harriet is so good and Per well I loved him 🙂

    Have Fun

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