You may have seen the phrase – The Blackfish Effect – popping up in the media lately, referring to a backlash against theme parks that display orca whales. Rock stars are cancelling shows and little kids are lobbying to change class field trip destinations.
My Blackfish Effect was that I wrote a novel from the point-of-view of a killer whale who finds it hard to follow rules in a world that doesn’t make sense to him.
In case you’ve been on a media blackout for the past year, Blackfish is a documentary film that tells the story of Tilikum, a killer whale who was taken from the ocean as a baby and housed in theme parks to perform for the public. He killed three people.
I’ve always been interested in whales and dolphins. I’ve traveled to Alaska to see orcas in the wild, and kayaked around San Juan Island hoping to have my own close encounter. But after seeing Blackfish in the theater, I became absolutely obsessed.
I went on a Google binge and read everything I could find about killer whales and captivity. I watched YouTube videos of a massive orca holding its trainer twenty feet underwater by the ankle. I wanted to understand why these animals attacked the people who were caring for them. I wanted to understand why audiences were told that swimming with captive orcas was safe.
I spent entire days immersed in incident reports and animal profiles, then curled up at night to read another chapter of Death at SeaWorld.
“I’m not sure why I’m spending so much time on this,” I told Tom.
“It’s your special interest,” he said.
Tom understands obsessions and special interests. He turns them into careers, like Grammy®-nominated classical musician, or hobbies, like ukulele collector or purveyor of persimmon tarts.
Mine turned into a novel.
I am happy to say that I published Way of the Whale: A Novel a few weeks ago! Tom and I collaborated to launch this whale of a story out into the world. He did the music for the book trailer. I hope you enjoy our trailer and will give my novel a read!
You can get “Way of the Whale” on Amazon: http://amzn.to/LoOoU9
You can watch the trailer here:
©2014 Tom and Linda Peters