Every writer needs a ‘hook for the book.’ By this I don’t mean only a grabber beginning, but something unique about the theme or setting. So for my June novel, Deep Down, I decided to hang the intrigue of the story not only on the romance between the hero and heroine or the murder mystery they must solve together, but on the rare, endangered and precious herb ginseng.
That’s right—an herb, a root. The tag line on the front of Deep Down, screams “Evil takes root!” The herb ginseng is one of the most valuable but increasingly rare herbs in the world and has been for centuries. The Chinese emperors used to guard their imperial ginseng under pain of death. George Washington knew and traded the herb as did Daniel Boone. Some the best ‘sang’ in the world, as the Appalachians call ginseng, grows in the forests of Kentucky. Today, this cure-all is in demand by Chinese cartels, power drink companies, herbal conglomerates and the US Government, which has put it on the Endangered Species list. Tests are starting to prove that it delays (perhaps can help to cure?) certain endocrine-driven cancers. What an herb! What a hook for a scary, deep woods romantic suspense novel.