Absolutely delighted to share this extract with you from Kristy McCaffrey from her novel Deep Blue.
If you are heading for the sun this summer, it’d be a great each read – just don’t pack a yellow lilo – Jaws fans will KNOW 🙂
In the deep blue ocean lives an ancient predator…
Dr. Grace Mann knows great white sharks. As the daughter of an obsessed shark researcher based at the Farallon Islands, Grace spent her childhood in the company of these elegant and massive creatures. When a photo of her freediving with a great white goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work.
Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr. Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. As he heads to Guadalupe Island in Baja California Sur for a three-week expedition, it’s clear that his fan-boy crush on Grace is turning into something more serious. But even more pressing—Grace’s passionate focus on the sharks just might get her killed.
Too much food made diving difficult, so she’d get the majority of her calories at the end of the day. She gazed out the window of the salon at the flaming yellow ball cresting the horizon, biding her time until they could deploy the buoys or until a shark showed up. As she booted up her computer, her eyes kept landing on Guadalupe Island, sitting right at their front doorstep.
The ever-present grin took control of her mouth once again.
Someone let out a whoop. Grace sipped her coffee, her belly somewhat filled from half a bagel slathered with a thin layer of cream cheeseGrace slammed her coffee down and dashed out of the salon.
Tony stood on the upper deck with Missy and Stephie, leaning over the railing and pointing. “We’ve got a shark!”
Grace spun around and smacked into Alec. “Sorry.” His hands steadied her, but she ducked around him, leaning into the salon and grabbing the binoculars on the desk. She looped them around her neck and bolted outside, running down a set of stairs and to the fore of the boat. Alec was already on the pulpit that jutted over the water, a small handheld video camera capturing the ruckus. Grace came up behind him, scanning the water.
“There!” Tony yelled.
Grace concentrated on where Tony was pointing. A dark mass swam just under the surface, creating a sizable wake. The nearly black torpedo-shaped fish rose higher, and its skin revealed cobalt and turquoise hues against the blue sea. Grace’s heart pounded. She laughed aloud, shaking with giddiness. All her imaginings didn’t compare to that first moment when she spied these formidable and extraordinary creatures.
She brought the binoculars to her eyes. The dorsal fin—an object of terror for an entire generation raised on Jaws—broke the surface as the shark moved parallel to the boat and toward her and Alec’s position.
She squealed with delight.
“Old friend?” Alec said.
“It’s the Professor,” Tony bellowed.
Grace studied the jagged edges of the dorsal fin, but it wasn’t until she saw a notch missing in his caudal fin that she agreed with her graduate student.
“We first saw him last year,” she said for Alec’s benefit.
“He looks to be about fifteen feet.”
She nodded. “He’s a beauty. We frequently caught him in the company of two females. We called them Mary Ann and Ginger, but they usually chased him off.”
“From what I hear, the females do seem to dominate around here.”
The Professor glided beneath the narrow walkway that held them. They both whirled to the other side.
Grace kept the shark dead-center in the binocular eyepiece as it swam away, awe swelling her chest, increasing the pounding of her heart. “They’re so powerful. It’s breathtaking really.”
“So, did you ever find out?” he asked.
“What’s that?” She strained to keep the Professor in her sights as he glided farther away from the boat, finally disappearing.
“Who he preferred—Ginger or Mary Ann.”
She let the binoculars dangle around her neck and looked at him, taking a deep breath as the excitement of the moment dissipated. “It was hard to tell. Maybe we’ll solve that puzzle this time.”
“My money’s on Mary Ann,” Alec said.
“Nah,” Double D said from behind them. He’d obviously heard their conversation. “If the Professor is the stud I think he is, then he’ll definitely go for the flashier woman.”
Amusement danced in Alec’s eyes. “Too much work. A man prefers his woman to be more down-to-earth.”
“Depends what you want that woman for.”
Copyright © 2018 K. McCaffrey LLC
Writer on the Shelf
When I was a little girl growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, I would frequently narrate my life to myself inside my head. I enjoyed this shift into a third person point-of-view. Perhaps it was the feeling of control it instilled, but it also helped my young mind process the daily grind of my life. I also had an overwhelming compulsion to write. I have boxes of diaries from my youth as evidence.
My mother was a voracious reader, so I spent my teenage years snatching books from her nightstand. During that time, her tastes ran to science fiction and fantasy. I had a steady diet of Anne McCaffrey (no relation), Marion Zimmer Bradley, Piers Anthony, and Roger Zelazney. I was also deeply enamored of King Arthur. I fell in love with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and was fascinated by the twists and turns of Wuthering Heights, but I really didn’t read romances until I was a young married woman living a few thousand miles from home. My husband and I didn’t have much money back then, so I would walk to the nearby library and read whatever bodice-rippers happened to be on the shelf. Despite some of the cheesy covers, I quickly fell in love with the rich storylines and surprisingly well-drawn characters. It became obvious, later, that these were the kind of stories I wanted to write.
I studied engineering in college. There are no engineers in my family (my dad is an accountant and my mom a glass artist/teacher) but I was drawn to it for two reasons. One, I liked math and my high school calculus teacher always spoke so excitedly about the relationship between math and the world around us. Two, I wanted to make my dad proud by being an independent woman with a good job. Starting salaries for engineers aren’t too shabby. Funny thing is, I’ve never worked as an engineer except for a few summer internships at Motorola. My most intense engineering endeavor was my thesis while earning a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. I designed a computer model that tracked heat damage inflicted when removing orthodontic brackets from dinosaur teeth. No, not really dinosaur teeth. One of my coefficients was incorrect and I inadvertently designed giant teeth instead of small, human ones. When I discovered my error, I was quite embarrassed and processed it by sobbing and eating an entire box of chocolate doughnuts. The debacle cost me an extra semester at school, but I did finally graduate.
When my husband and I began our family, we both agreed that it was important to have a parent at home, and I jumped at the chance to spend all my days with my children. It was a real blessing. However, I soon felt the urge to stretch myself, to work my brain a bit, and it wasn’t engineering I desired to do but writing. So, with four children under the age of five underfoot, I penned my first manuscript. Suffice it to say, there were many stops and starts, and many a rewrite, but that story eventually became The Wren, which was published in 2003.
I’ve written a few more books since, and have learned, and continue to learn, the art of writing, the way my own process unfolds, and the fun and hair-pulling aspects of marketing and promotion. I credit the unwavering support of my husband for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dream, because it took me ten years to support my writing career.
And now, a few random and fun facts about me:
My favorite movie of all time is Star Wars. I’ve seen it well over 60 times.
When I was young, I wanted to be (in no particular order): a theoretical physicist, a meteorologist, or a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader.
My dream job after college was to work for Lucasfilm and do sound design for movies (but I opted for children instead).
In college, I was President of the local chapter of the Society of Women Engineers at Arizona State University.
I had a huge love of “Flash Gordon” starring Sam J. Jones. (The movie “Ted” and the homage to Jones really cracked me up.)
During college, I fought a bull while in Mexico for Spring Break. (I survived unscathed, but scared out of my wits. The girl after me didn’t fare so well and had to be taken to the hospital with a broken ankle.)
I met my husband in German class at ASU when I was 18.
I’m not very fluent in German. (Maybe because I was distracted by that cute boy sitting behind me?)
As a child, I had over 20 pen pals from all over the world. I’m still in touch with one—we’re Facebook friends.
I bummed through Europe with my boyfriend (who later became my husband). We slept on boat decks and train station floors, lugging packs from England to Belgium to Germany to Italy and finally to the Greek Isles. Do this while you’re young.
I’m still gripped with wanderlust and have also traveled to Argentina, Peru, China, Turkey, Scotland, Ireland, and my favorite trip to date—interacting with gray whales in Baja, Mexico.
What’s on my bucket list? Swimming with humpbacks in either the Dominican Republic or Tonga; great white shark cage-diving at Guadalupe Island (Baja, Mexico); visiting an obscure collection of islands in the Central Pacific called Kiribati; Kathmandu; and gorgeous and remote Mongolia.
My overall dream? Grow old with my husband, try my best to release my children into the world (it’s hard to disengage those mommy tentacles), and keep writing the next damned book that won’t let me alone.
If you have any questions regarding this website, you may contact me using the information below.
c/o K. McCaffrey LLC
P.O. Box 25293
Scottsdale, AZ 85255