I’m a National Public Radio listener. In the car, in the house, in hotels, it’s the station I always tune to. One afternoon, back in the early ’90s, I was listening to Terry Gross’ Fresh Air. She was interviewing Russ Rymer about Genie, a wild-child discovered in California in the ’70s. When the interview ended I realized this was a subject I wanted to explore more deeply. I read everything I could get my hands on regarding feral children. And started researching language acquisition. And animals with complex language and social structure.  I decided to place my wild child in the company of dolphins. My narrative character, I thought, would stand the best chance of transitioning from her wild state into human society if she came from a dolphin community. The character was inspired in part by a young girl who had recently written to me. This child lived in the United States but had been born in Cuba. She had since migrated to the U.S. with her mother and brother a few years earlier.

What if…I thought…what if a child born in Cuba was on her way to the U.S. when the plane went down in the Straits of Florida?…

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