This is the most awesome gift a writer can receive in the mailbox. I received a note from a dear friend recently who informed me that her book club had selected Tiger Hunting for their second read.
As I am composing my letter in reply, I thought I'd share the answers.
Question # 2: Could a tiger really hide in that area?
If you know western Kansas, you know that it is flat as a pancake and the sky goes on for miles and miles. It’s hard to imagine any animal hiding for long, but especially hard to imagine a tiger who is nowhere near a native. The county is sparsely populated, however, and I’m drawn to consider the stories of mountain lions I’ve heard over the years. They are rarely seen, but often talked about. The Kansas park service, in fact, claimed until quite recently that they didn’t exist in the state.
This may be one part of the story where a little suspension of belief is required… Or perhaps there will one day be an extended version of Tiger Hunting, from another Kansan’s perspective, that explains a little better how a white tiger was able to disappear south of Dodge City successfully and for so long.
That’s a story that may or may not be in the works, depending on which day you talk to me.
See Question #1
Suddenly, goosebumps rose on my arms and I stopped. I felt her watching me before I even lifted my eyes from the dirt on the toes of my once white tennis shoes. She was standing right in front of me, maybe 15 feet away. She was panting, her tongue hanging out as if she shared my thirst. This was western Kansas, after all. It’s not as if there were abundant ponds and streams dotting the landscape. I held my breath and stood absolutely still. My hands gripped the handlebars of the bike so tightly my knuckles started to ache. Her piercing blue eyes remained focused on me as if assessing whether or not I provided an answer to her own hunger and thirst issues.
See Question #1