Yup. It's true. After decades of contemplating writing this book, ANGEL FALLS is here. I admit: I'm excited!
I get asked all the time: "How do you come up with your ideas?"
In this case, the answer is easy: ANGEL FALLS, was inspired by the life of Texan Ruth Robertson, a photojournalist who, in 1949, mounted the expedition that successfully measured Angel Falls, the world's tallest waterfall.
Despite Ruth's amazing achievement, her story had been lost to time. I happened upon it more than 20 years ago, and I knew that someday I had to remind the world about her. ANGEL FALLS is historical fiction, a blending of fact and imagination, but the plot line involving Ruth's life and the expedition is based on her mementos and writings. For research, I had access to Ruth's photographs and papers through the archive at the University of Texas – Austin's Harry Ransom Center.
Before Ruth's success, the waterfall was thought to be impossible to reach by land. Angel Falls is in a dense Venezuelan jungle, located inside of a deep mountain canyon. The native tribes in the area believed that particular mountain, Auyán-tepui, was haunted, and their cultures warned them to stay away. Four earlier expeditions – all mounted by men – had run out of supplies or found the jungle too formidable, and all had turned back. At least one member of a prior party vanished in the jungle, home to venomous insects, snakes, and dangerous animals.
The waterfall had only been seen by air until Robertson and her party cut through the jungle to reach it. An astounding sight, Angel Falls measures 3,212 feet from top to bottom, higher than two Empire State Buildings stacked one on top of the other.
I am so thrilled about this book. I love Ruth's story.
Here's the synopsis from the backcover:
"A dynamic cast of characters, lush settings, and an engaging plot that is sure to excite Casey's legion of loyal fans."—New York Times bestselling author of Perennials, Julie Cantrell.
The jungle 1949: Everyone said it was impossible, dangerous, unwise. Three expeditions mounted by men had failed. How could one led by a woman succeed? "Don't be a fool. You'll die out there," a friend whispered to Ruth. But a siren haunted her dreams, calling to her. She had no choice but to follow it into the deepest, darkest jungle in the world, a decision that would change her life forever.
Houston 1993: A violent storm pummels the Gulf Coast. Fleeing from her abusive husband, Gabby Jordan becomes disoriented and lost. After a terrifying escape, she happens upon a convenience store bulletin board that leads her to the ramshackle, riverside house of a woman named Ruth. As Gabby's husband hunts her down, intent on revenge, Gabby and Ruth rely on their instincts and each other to fight for survival.
Inspired by the true story of a woman explorer, Angel Falls is a poignant, inspirational tale of two women who join forces to fight a deadly enemy and, in the process, confront painful pasts to find peace with long-hidden secrets.