“Careful by Randy Anderson ” Guest Post
Careful – a novel set in Ecuador
While the book starts in South Eastern Washington State, the majority of Careful takes place in Ecuador circa 1990. I set the story there because it’s where I spent my Jr. year in High School. And like the main character, Tyler, I reveled in the exotic and mysterious beauty of this South American Country.
Bordered by Columbia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador is best known for its island chain made famous by Charles Darwin. I’ve never been to the Galapagos, despite having spent 11 months on the mainland. But the wildly diverse landscapes of this small Andean country have more than enough to satisfy the most adventurous travelers. And it’s where Tyler climbs volcanoes, parties on beaches, and rides atop busses through endless jungle.
Cutting the country in half is the mountainous Andes region where cities are tucked into valleys below active volcanoes. Due to the extreme altitude, the weather is spring-like the entire year despite being 100 miles south of the equator. To the east is the Amazon Jungle. Known to Ecuadorians as El Oriente, the vast jungle is home to rich biodiversity, tremendous moisture, and enormous rivers which provide transportation for the sparse population. To the west of the mountains is the coastal region. The port city of Guayaquil is the center of commerce where ships are loaded with bananas and petroleum. Two major exports. But the main coastal action in Careful happens on Ecuador’s beautiful beaches.
While the topography plays a major role, it’s the people of Ecuador who provide the most textured backdrop for the book. A maid, a strict headmaster and a family obsessed with their social standing provide unique obstacles, which Tyler must negotiate on a daily basis. Foreign customs and values constantly push Tyler to try and adapt. It’s these “fish out of water” experiences that shape the young man’s worldview and it’s the surprising tragedy that ultimately defines his temperament.
I’ve loved creating this setting and I’m hopeful that my readers will finish the book with a stronger sense of what Ecuador was like twenty years ago. And perhaps they’ll feel as though they’ve been there themselves. And since I’ve not returned myself, I’ll be curious to hear from readers who’ve visited more recently. I’m sure things have changed dramatically. For the better and the worse.
Meet the Author:
Randy Anderson is a novelist and playwright. His first book was published in 2011. On Making Off recounted his adventures running The Beggars Group, a downtown theater company that produced over two dozen productions at the turn of the millennium. He is also the author of several plays including; Kill the President, The Dwelling, and Yippie! Randy currently lives in Brooklyn where he writes, reasons, and reacts. You can contact him at www.onmakingoff.com, or on twitter @onmakingoff. Find the author on: Facebook / Twitter/ Literary Addicts / Goodreads / Website