Like her protagonist Shannon Kendricks, Cathy Parker is an attorney. She volunteered as a zoo keeper's aide for eight years and did have a very special beluga buddy, Mauyak, just as Shannon Kendricks has. As to encounters with alien children, as in the trilogy, she is not saying. She was also a radio and print journalist and once was the 'Jill of all trades' for a small satellite paper in Wyoming. She did everything from taking to the photos to writing the articles and op-ed pieces to helping with layout and hauling the newspapers through blizzards once a week. As a result, she saw lambs being born and went on a cattle drive and ate her first (and last) Rocky Mountain Oyster. She has seen mountain gorillas in the wild in Rwanda and orangutans in Borneo and even rocked an orphaned baby orangutan to sleep on her chest. She has volunteered with a chimpanzee sanctuary for former research subjects. So you can see where her heart lies. Currently she lives in Costa Rica with her black cat. All similarities between her cat and the trilogy's Narcissus are purely and probably coincidental.
Last Sunday I drove an hour into the mountains of southern Costa Rica to visit the indigenous tribe, the Boruca, with my guide Henry, who is Boruncan. The Boruca people are skilled mask makers and painters, as exhibited in the photo. I visited during the most important festival of the year, the Devil's Dance, where participants in masks such as this one attack another participant in a housing with a bull's face on it. The devils represent the indigenous tribe, and the bull represents the Spanish. The festival celebrates the defeat of the Spanish. On the day I was there, the bull was winning, and he didn't mess around. I saw a participant come out for first aid with a cut to his hand and a nasty black eye. But on the last day of the festival, the bull is defeated and the representation is burned. The carving still has much in common with an ancient mask I saw in their little museum. Sadly, though, Henry told me the tribe is losing its native language. Henry speaks perfect Spanish, which is ironic, and his English is also very good. I hope they can find a way to preserve their native tongue.