07 September 2008


This week, we're talking to contributor Jean Adams about her newest release from Highland Press, BEATS A WILD HEART, a contemporary set in Cornwall.

Beats a Wild Heart by Jean Adams
In the ancient, Celtic land of Cornwall, Emma Hayward searched for a myth and found truth.

Needing to prove she's got what it takes in the male-dominated world of wildlife photography, Emma sets herself an impossible task--to be the one to capture the fabled Beast of Bodmin Moor on film. It's her big adventure and nothing--not even the handsome and charismatic, motorcycle designer, Seth Trevelyan--will distract her and stop her from reaching her goals.

But a man wearing black leathers can mess with a girl's mind, no matter how big her plans.
Why did you write this story?

It wanted to be written. It was one of those stories that screams in your head until you get it down on paper. I was on holiday with my brother, who lived in Cornwall at the time. He took me on a drive across Bodmin when a mist just came down. No warning. We stopped at Jamaica Inn for lunch and I saw a leaflet there with the head of a black panther on it. It said The Beast of Bodmin Moor. My writer's mind went into overdrive and BEATS A WILD HEART is the result.

Did you come up with the title or did the publisher think of it.

The title was mine. It just resonated with me. Especially since there are three wild hearts in the story--Emma, the heroine, Seth the hero and the Beast itself.

Where is the book set?

It's set in Cornwall, a place very close to my heart. I've always loved the place, probably because I spent my formative years there.

Why did you write about an American heroine in a story about Cornwall?

Emma had to be far enough removed from the setting as she could be so as not to be tainted by the cynics, yet retain the possibility of the story being true. That's why I gave her a Cornish mother. Besides, what an exciting challenge for an aspiring wildlife photographer. Who would turn down the chance to look for the Beast of Bodmin Moor.

Why a black panther?

Because that's what the legend says. There have been sightings of wild animals in other places around England, but none fire the imagination as much as the panther, which in reality is a black leopard. In fact, soon after I got back (to New Zealand) someone reported seeing a young, emaciated lion in another open place, Dartmoor, I think. It was never found but the police can't take the sightings lightly. These stories all became reality back when people could import wild animals as pets until the British Government imposed stringent rules on their upkeep. Not wanting to incur any "unnecessary" expense, the poor creatures were taken to places like Bodmin or Dartmoor, and turned loose to fend for themselves.

As a writer who has changed horses midstream to become an historical writer, did you have many problems with this contemporary story?

No, this was written before the big change. And I was able to incorporate a little Cornish history. I've also tried to encompass the feel of ancient Cornwall in the story, with all its myth and mystery. The Arthurian legends come to life in places like Tintagel Castle or Dozmary Pool.

The big one. Do you believe the story?

I'm not saying. Some believe it, while others dismiss it all too easily. In the swirling mists of Bodmin Moor it's easy to expect the unexpected. And some things can never be explained, no matter how much the cynics try to rationalise. I think all myths have some basis in truth. I love my myths and legends. I'd like to explore them more.

What's next for Jean Adams?

I have two time travels contracted with Highland Press that will be out sometime in the near future. Work wise, I'm developing a trilogy set in ancient Egypt, another place I'm passionate about, as well as running a home-based business teaching people how to make money, so my time is of the essence.


Jean is offering a copy of BEATS A WILD HEART to someone drawn from the comments. To be in the draw, Jean would like to know: What myth or story gets your creative juices flowing? We'll draw a winner next Sunday. Best of luck!