Careful: a novel set in Ecuador - Guest Post from Author Randy Anderson

Careful – a novel set in Ecuador

While the book starts in South Eastern Washington State, the majority of Careful takes place in Ecuador circa 1990. I set the story there because it’s where I spent my Jr. year in High School. And like the main character, Tyler, I reveled in the exotic and mysterious beauty of this South American Country.

Bordered by Columbia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador is best known for its island chain made famous by Charles Darwin. I’ve never been to the Galapagos, despite having spent 11 months on the mainland. But the wildly diverse landscapes of this small Andean country have more than enough to satisfy the most adventurous travelers. And it’s where Tyler climbs volcanoes, parties on beaches, and rides atop busses through endless jungle.

Cutting the country in half is the mountainous Andes region where cities are tucked into valleys below active volcanoes. Due to the extreme altitude, the weather is spring-like the entire year despite being 100 miles south of the equator. To the east is the Amazon Jungle. Known to Ecuadorians as El Oriente, the vast jungle is home to rich biodiversity, tremendous moisture, and enormous rivers which provide transportation for the sparse population. To the west of the mountains is the coastal region. The port city of Guayaquil is the center of commerce where ships are loaded with bananas and petroleum. Two major exports. But the main coastal action in Careful happens on Ecuador’s beautiful beaches.

While the topography plays a major role, it’s the people of Ecuador who provide the most textured backdrop for the book. A maid, a strict headmaster and a family obsessed with their social standing provide unique obstacles, which Tyler must negotiate on a daily basis. Foreign customs and values constantly push Tyler to try and adapt. It’s these “fish out of water” experiences that shape the young man’s worldview and it’s the surprising tragedy that ultimately defines his temperament.

I’ve loved creating this setting and I’m hopeful that my readers will finish the book with a stronger sense of what Ecuador was like twenty years ago. And perhaps they’ll feel as though they’ve been there themselves. And since I’ve not returned myself, I’ll be curious to hear from readers who’ve visited more recently. I’m sure things have changed dramatically. For the better and the worse.


For two decades Tyler Gibbons has been keeping a secret from his family. At the tender age of sixteen, Tyler embarks on a student exchange program. Sent to the Andean city of Ambato, Ecuador, he finds daily adventure as he tries to fit in at school, connect with his host family, and navigate through a world of beaches, volcanoes, and jungles. But tucked deep inside this year are events so profound, so unexpected, they forever shape the man he will become.

Now, 25 years later, his mother pulls these soaring tales from her son, exposing, for the first time, the source of a deep unhappiness. While these memories contain the wounds of an unresolved past, they also possess the power to heal his painful present.

Thoughtfully crafted and boldly told, Tyler’s journey takes the reader on a wild South American adventure, while illuminating a mother’s unyielding power to heal her child.



A performer, playwright, and producer Randy founded The Beggars Group in 1999. During the following decade he produced over two dozen productions including; The Expatriates, Do It!, and Theadora, She Bitch of Byzantium.

Plays he’s written include; New Year’s Resolutions, Homlessness Homosexuals and Heretics, Testing Average, Kill The President, Armor of Wills, and The Dwelling.

Randy is currently completing his novel Careful, which will be released in May 2014.

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Careful: a novel set in Ecuador - Guest Post from Author Randy Anderson Careful: a novel set in Ecuador - Guest Post from Author Randy Anderson Reviewed by Joshua Cook on 11:30 PM Rating: 5

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