It’s a pleasure today to welcome Gila Green with a guest post. Gila has written a young adult, environmental fiction novel titled No Entry. Here’s what the book is about…
Broken-hearted after losing her only brother in a terrorist attack, 17-year-old Yael Amar seeks solace on an elephant conservation program in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. She is soon catapulted into a world harmonious with nature where she can heal and devote herself to the wildlife that is so important for the continued existence of all mankind. She is dazzled by her new best friend, reunites with her devoted boyfriend, and is fascinated by a local ranger who peels back another layer of meaning in her surroundings with each lesson. Then, on a drive through the safari, she sees something shocking. Soon her heaven on earth is seething with blood and betrayal and she is warned that she is no match for the evil that lurks in the men’s hearts around her. Now she has a secret she must keep from the people she loves the most if she is to stand against the murderous forces that threaten Kruger, her new friends, and her own life. But will taking a stand do more harm than good?
Book links ~ Stormbird Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon.au | Blackwells | B&N | Booktopia | Books-a-million | Waterstones
“Hello? Anyone home?”
“Sorry. Still not used to driving on this side of the road,” Yael lies. “Need to concentrate.”
Yael forces her shoulders back. She wants to reverse, set the case on fire. She cannot believe she’s participating in the murder of innocent animals. But she cannot arouse David’s suspicions. There’s no telling what he might do.
—excerpt from No Entry
Betrayal between a couple often feels like a punch in the mouth. In this excerpt, my heroine Yael Amar is desperate to keep her boyfriend away from the truth; she thinks he’ll be safer that way. This is the type of betrayal many of us will find familiar. The kind we try to justify.
But before No Entry, even begins Yael Amar would be able to tell you about another kind of betrayal. She’d say it feels more like a descent into a personal hell. When her brother is killed by terrorists, she feels betrayed by humanity itself. She must grapple with the violation of an assumed contract that many of us have; we have the right to visit public places without experiencing violence, let alone murder.
And so, my theme of this other, more fatal type of betrayal is off to a running start before the first page is written. In other words, that’s the backstory. The third type of betrayal in No Entry happens on a macro level; beyond human interactions. The central conflict is between elephants and elephant poachers. Here too, mankind fails catastrophically. Elephant numbers are depleting at an alarming rate both in real life and in my fiction. Humans must step up to the plate and take responsibility for this senseless destruction of life.
This is not a coincidental connection. I set out to thread the senseless loss of human life with the equally nonsensical destruction of animals. I did this not because I’m trying to make a point about the connection or status between humans and animals—that’s the wrong way to understand my motivation. Rather, I’m trying to weave the criminals who commit these inhuman acts: they’re connected. Often the same people willing to sell illegal blood ivory are involved in terrorism, human slavery, and other acts that bring nothing but grief to the planet. I wish to emphasize this linkage, to shout it from the rooftops. But in real life, I figured an exciting, adventurous, teen novel with a little romance thrown in was a more effective way to go.
I purposely made the terrorist event happen in Canada because I want to get the message across that fatal betrayal doesn’t just happen in Africa or the Middle East. That attitude might allow some of us to feel off the hook. It happens everywhere and we all have to make sure we are part of the solution or there won’t be one and that thought is too devastating to imagine. I refuse to go there and No Entry ends on a victorious note for a reason.