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I am a retired businessman, living in Overland Park, Kansas. When I was younger, I was an avid hunter and fisherman. Today, I am a passionate conservationist.
The idea for this book came to me while on the first of many fishing trips with my friends to Colombia, South America. We flew into Bogotá, took a small cargo plane to Miraflores, then a riverboat to our camp. The camp was an old rubber plantation built in 1941.
A guide, two fishing buddies and I were in a boat on a lake near the Vaupés River. This boat was carved from a huge log by the natives and ran low in the water. Suddenly, we spotted a large anaconda on the riverbank. We wanted to take a closer look. Our guide started to paddle toward the shore when the snake noticed us. We paddled within seven feet from the shoreline and there, about ten feet up on the bank, was the biggest snake I have ever seen in my life. Our guide called it La Culebra Grande.
As we stared at the snake, it lifted its huge head about six feet to face us. I was standing in the boat and it felt like the snake was staring straight into my soul. I felt a little intimidated by this snake. Never have I seen such raw power facing me without benefit of bars or glass between us.
Without warning, the snake started down the bank straight at us. It slithered into the water and went under our boat. One friend, who was in the very front of the boat, pulled his arms and legs as close to his body as possible. The snake was so large, I never thought it would stop coming down the bank. We guessed the snake to be twenty-eight to thirty feet long; we think that estimate is fairly accurate. The bank was ten feet up and we were seven feet from shore. That’s seventeen feet with half the snake still on the bank. Not many people will ever witness a scene like this!
Lucky for us the snake was not aggressive as I saw a large bump in its midsection. It had been lying there peacefully while digesting its food. Another friend laughingly suggested that maybe we should all go ashore and change our pants!
Needless to say, we were quite shaken. Since then, I have had a fascination with the area and its wildlife. But all my life, I have been interested in the conservation of all animals.
After writing the first draft of my book, tentatively called The Island, I watched a TV program on the Smithsonian Channel called “Titanoboa Monster Snake.” Amazing! I was writing a story about a giant forty-two foot snake and I learned that fossils of a prehistoric giant snake were discovered not far from the very area I was writing about! Of course, Queen is not as large as Titanoboa, but she could be a Titanoconda. Thus, The Island was changed to Titanoconda.
Was discovering this program about Titanoboa coincidence? Fate? Perhaps fiction is closer to fact than we realize.
I no longer hunt and fish, but age does not stop an active imagination. I hope you enjoy the adventures of Charlie, Carol, Mike, Elmer … and Queen!
You may contact me at Robert@Titanoconda-TheBook.com. I look forward to hearing from you!