I’m a native Californian. It’s a pretty cool state. We have beaches, mountains, movie stars. Lots of sunshine. And avocados! I didn’t actually think too much about what’s also known as the “alligator pear” and the “fertility fruit” until I moved to SoCal and saw the trees planted all over the place. In front yards, back yards, on hillsides that would be difficult navigation for mountain goats. I once lived in a guest house that was shaped like a swiss chalet and was backed up against a grove of avocados. I learned quickly that avocado trees are a happy home to somethings I’m very unhappy about…spiders! Eeek.
When it came to dreaming up the second book in my Beach House No. 9 trilogy (out yesterday!), I decided to take readers to yet another part of California…to avocado country. It’s right up the road from where I live and it’s amazing how you can go from city to rural farmland in just a few miles. As I was writing BUNGALOW NIGHTS, Surfer Guy and I took a few drives to enjoy the rolling hills where you can find citrus trees too. And horses. And gourd farms (yes, there is such a thing! Who knew?)
I also did a lot of research about the yummy, buttery fruit. Avocados have a lot of nutrients and good fat (I know, I know, it always seems like fat can’t be good, but the Mayo Clinic swears it’s so). It also has a long history of being thought to have aphrodisiac properties. Think about why…as they hang from the tree they look a little bit like, well, testicles. Ahuacuatl is the Aztec word for testicle tree which is where the name “avocado” is thought to have originated. During harvest times, Aztec maidens were said to be kept indoors in order not to be influenced by the powers of the fruit!
I hope the avocado will bring a little green magic to the readers of this latest installment in the Beach House series. Combat medic Vance Smith journeys to Beach House No. 9 to fulfill a battlefield promise to his commanding officer…to give the man’s daughter a month to remember. In the doing of that, Vance and Layla fall in love, but their wary hearts have a way to go before the happy-ever-after. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, saying “The smoldering chemistry, a wonderfully evocative Californian setting of orange groves and avocado orchards…make this tender story everything a romance reader could hope for.” (See! The avocados even made it into the review!)
Do you like the green fruit? Do you have a special guacamole ingredient? (We use a small amount of fresh, diced jalapenos, shallots, garlic, and tomato.) A lucky commenter will win a copy of the third book in the series, THE LOVE SHACK!