Kiss of the Tsunami is a fictional adventure inspired by survivor stories after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
The dual narrative alternates between Marti, an indigenous sea gypsy and Krista, an English girl on holiday in Thailand. Caught up in the cataclysmic event, two teens from very different cultures are torn apart from their families and their destinies become entwined. Desperate to escape racial taunts, sea gypsy Marti dreams of living an exciting new life. He has left his free-diving lifestyle to work in a seafront hotel and learned to speak Thai and English. The seventeen year-old angers his family by questioning the relevance of their Moken heritage, but Papa says the ocean is his universe and his son shouldn’t ignore the ancient knowledge. Marti makes a decision which he lives to regret. Arriving in Phuket on Christmas Day with her dad and new step-mum, fifteen year-old Krista is struggling to accept their marriage and to let go of the past. On Boxing Day, the ground tremors, but her dad reassures her, saying it’s just the earth having a little shake-up. An hour later, clutching her late mum’s gold locket, Krista watches Marti entertaining girls by diving in the hotel pool. Confused by her reaction to the tall young man, she walks to the beach which is already filling up with youth and beauty. Sparks of attraction leap across barriers of culture, but as Marti is considered to be one of the ‘Basement People,’ he knows he has no chance. Standing by the sea wall, he is astonished to see the ocean rolled up in the distance. A childhood story flashes into his mind about the Laboon: the seventh wave that eats people: “When the tide disappears into the mist and the birds stop singing and the crabs crawl to the forest, you must run!” Krista’s holiday to paradise has turned into a fight for survival. As the dark wall of water powers towards her, she thinks she is going to die. Terrified and alone, she discovers new reserves of strength. Help comes from unexpected sources, but when safety is within reach, she has to confront her greatest fear.
In the tragic aftermath of the tsunami, everything Marti has known and believes in, is thrown into chaos. A deadly tide of junk is pouring down the street, sucking in life and spewing out death. Marti is faced with a terrible choice and he finds out the true meaning of sacrifice. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rachel Rivers Porter was born in Hertfordshire, graduated from St. Andrews University, and now lives in the north of England. Before embarking on a writing career, she was a teacher. Having completed the ‘Constructing a Novel’ course with Penguin Random House Writers’ Academy in 2015, she is now writing full time. For many years Rachel taught English, inspiring pupils to write imaginative stories and to enjoy acting in her plays. Seeing children’s growing confidence in their creativity, strengthened her desire to become an author. “I find inspiration in what I see around me,” she says. “A conversation may spark an idea or a character and a whole new world rushes into my mind, which I can’t wait to explore.” Through reading survivor stories and researching the effects of the Boxing Day tsunami in Thailand, Rachel was able to write an authentic account of the catastrophic event that claimed so many lives.
She was fascinated to discover that the indigenous Moken people escaped the disaster because they remembered ancient folklore. Intrigued by their fishing and free-diving lifestyle, she got in touch with a Norwegian film director who has studied the Moken. Runar Jarle Wiik, director of award-winning documentary, No Word For Worry, gave further insight into this unique culture which is now under threat.