My new book, When The Stars Align, features a romance between two astronomy students embarking on a summer internship in beautiful, sunny, steamy Puerto Rico. To help get you in the mood, here’s a list of my favorite places on the island, and some of the starring locations for the story.
- Arecibo Observatory – When people think about studying the stars, they often imagine backyard telescopes and breathtaking images of far-off galaxies. But some of the most interesting work being done in the field is completed by collecting information from the distant reaches of the cosmos using invisible light in the form of radio waves. The telescope in Arecibo, PR, is a vast, metal dish set into a crater in the ground, and it’s some three football fields wide in diameter. Catch a glimpse of it in movies such as Contact, starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey, and the James Bond film Golden Eye.
It’s the setting for the majority of the story, and the primary place where the characters, Adam and Jo, fall in love.
- Ponce – This city on the south side of the island boasts gorgeous, pristine, white beaches. It was the perfect place for my hero–buff, athletic Adam–to take the guarded heroine, Jo, into the ocean for the first time and teach her to loosen up a little.
- El Yunque – This gorgeous national park is the only tropical rainforest in the national park system, and it’s a treasure of dense jungle foliage, towering palm trees, beautiful, crystal clear pools and hidden waterfalls.
One of the first times Jo and Adam interact outside observatory grounds is on a day trip to the rainforest. Taking advantage of the chance to swim, Jo gets herself into a situation where she needs help, and it’s the first crack in her defenses that allows Adam to see a glimpse of the vulnerability she keeps so carefully hidden from the rest of the world.
- Vieques Island – This small island a short ferry ride off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico is home to a major military base—and what might possibly be my favorite place in the world. The unflatteringly named Mosquito Bay has a natural phenomenon known as bioluminescence. Tiny microscopic organisms in the water glow whenever they’re disturbed. Swimming fish leave trails of brilliant blue light in the water. A kick of a leg sends off showers of brilliance. Letting some of the water pour down your arm sends pinpricks of light like tiny stars flowing across your skin.
While pollution and climate change have taken their toll, making the bay less spectacular than it was years ago, it lives in my memory as the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and is the setting for what I think of as one of most romantic scenes in the book, as Adam and Jo discover the wonder of it together.
I can’t wait to share all the heat and passion of the Caribbean with you.