From Pearls to Terror

When I was a little girl, my parents used to take me to Seaworld, San Diego. There were two shows I absolutely adored.

One was the Underwater Show that featured mermaids.


The other was a pearl diving exhibition.


Over the years, I never forgot what it was like to sit spellbound while watching both, and somehow, after I became an author and got the itch to write a thriller, one of these shows made it to a place called TERROR ISLAND.


What? One of these things does not match the others, right? But I wanted my mystery-thriller heroine, Katsu Espinoza, to be a pearl diver, come hell or high water! The profession made sense to me because I needed a woman who could fight her way through a storm on the seas, one who had diving skills, and one who looked delicate but was actually as tough as nails. (You’d need to be that way to survive a serial killer who’s luring victims and killing them!)

And don’t you love it when life presents you with an opportunity to give you what you need? It just so happened that, years ago, when I first wrote this book (the former title was BAITED), two of my good friends had moved to Japan, and they invited me to visit.

Well, since there was no more pearl diving show at Seaworld, I just had to go overseas to do my research!

So I set out for Mikimoto’s Pearl Island. (Yes, this Mikimoto, the pearl guy.)


True, my Japanese was tragic (Oh, but did I try to get it right!). It’s also true that the island was far from where I was staying and I would have to take quite a trip all by my lonesome to get there. In a foreign land. Without speaking the language. But it was my mission.

I was doing it for Katsu.

As I watched the ama (pearl divers) display their skills, diving and coming up for a whistling breath of air, Kat Espinoza took shape in my mind, and I liberally used that research in the book. If I ever make it back to Japan, maybe there’ll even be another mystery romantic thriller in store!

Or maybe I’ll just go to satisfy the dreams of a little girl who watched the mermaid and pearl diving shows with stars in her eyes.

Chris Marie Green is also the thriller author of the Vampire Babylon series, including the spin-off Lilly Meratoliage series, plus the Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire series. She tries her best to avoid international incidents whenever she takes a break from her first love, writing, and cheats on it with her other true love, traveling. You can find her on Twitter @ChrisMarieGreen and on Facebook at “Chris Marie Green—author”!

You can get TERROR ISLAND here:








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8 Replies to “From Pearls to Terror”

    • Thank you, Jacquie. 🙂 I count myself lucky that I had the opportunity–it really was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We discovered so many amazing places, like the little underground bar where there was only a lily in a vase to greet you. And the food! They sell the best stuff in department stores. Also, Japan has the best candy. I could go on and on!

  1. Fascinating article! Yes, it often seems that when we are interested in using our experiences to fuel anything creative we’re doing–music, art, poetry, prose–more and more wonderful details offer themselves up to us.

  2. I really enjoyed this brief glimpse into your world, Chris. I salute you for being so brave to travel in a country with such different customs and having no language – but it obviously turned into a wonderful adventure. Plus, it allowed you to write your thriller – Terror Island

    • Hi, Mimi!
      True! I stayed on a Department of Defense housing base, where it sort of seemed “like America,” LOL. But then I stepped outside of it and–bam! Japan! My friends had to work during the day so I struck out alone because I wasn’t about to waste the opportunity to explore! We did go fun places together during the weekends. I’m very lucky!

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