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May 25, 2018

C.W. Irwin, author of Society of the Morning Star, returns with The Waters of Eden, another compelling, imaginative novel grounded in deep research, this time set in the Amazon.

What is the story behind The Waters of Eden?

The Waters of Eden is a tall tale grounded in history and ancient legend. The thrill of discovering what lies beyond the next bend in the river propels the story. I became interested in the Amazon Rainforest when I started reading accounts of exploration in the region years ago. I find it fascinating that even today some indigenous people in the Amazon have had little or no contact with the outside world. During the early 20th century, the time frame of the novel, this was spectacularly true.

To what extent do you draw from real life, and what responsibility do you feel to fact over fiction?
 
To write this book, I studied regional tribes, accounts of explorers, stories of frontier life in the boomtown of Manaus, and the history of the Amazon's notoriously exploitative rubber industry. To create my characters, I drew upon descriptions of real late 19th and early 20th century Brazilians. The idea that a flower blossoming deep within the forest canopy could have miraculous medicinal properties is sheer speculation, of course, but not entirely beyond the realm of possibility.

Why or how do you think this book is particularly relevant now?

The history of the rubber industry in the Amazon is an instructive cautionary tale. Today, commercial interests continue tearing down millions of acres of pristine forest.

Place figures prominently in this book, as well as in your first novel. Tell us how place inspires you and why.

We all are profoundly influenced by place. In Society of the Morning Star, I picked Venice because historically the city was a bridge between East and West. I chose the Amazon Rainforest for the ancient legends that allude to that part of the world. The main character is a young biologist from the US who exclaims, "This is the Garden of Eden—one of the few places on Earth where the ancient world miraculously survived into the present!"

What one thing do you want people to know about your work?

I believe that compelling works of imagination need to be grounded in fact. The more fantastic the stories are, the more important this is. I performed years of research for both of my novels, and took great pains to make the facts entertaining. I am currently working on a sequel to Society of the Morning Star, as well as a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel. All my books are available on Amazon.

For more information, visit the BookLife project page for The Waters of Eden.

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