A CUDDINGTON grandmother’s close encounters with Colombian drug mafia and giant anacondas in the Amazon jungle has formed the inspiration behind her second book.

El Dorado and the Amazon, written by Ruth Elliott-Smith, is inspired by her experiences in Colombia during the terror reign of drug lord, Pablo Escobar.

Ruth said: “My work took me to some of the world’s most dangerous places and now I embellish my real-life experiences with fast-moving fictional tales of money, murder and revenge to turn them into the thrillers I love to write.

“I like to show my readers that life is full of adventure if they want it and that we all have stories to tell. I hope mine will inspire as many as possible to venture out and write their own.”

El Dorado and the Amazon is about 1980s Colombia at the height of the cocaine mafia’s power; a story of gold, greed, passion and betrayal.

Ruth fled from the Colombian cocaine mafia in 1988 at a time when there were eight murders a day in Medellin, drug capital of the world.

In the Amazon jungle she swam with piranhas, was stalked by a giant anaconda and hunted alligators by night, and uses these experiences to add authenticity to her book.

Ruth’s first book, “The Sword – Blood Demands Blood” is a tale of war, kidnap and terrorism in the Middle East where Ruth worked in the 1960s, surviving cross-border shell fire, a mortar bomb attack and an accidental venture into a minefield. Published last summer it is already internationally successful, selling in the UK, USA, Canada and Japan.

Ruth trained on her local newspaper, The Walsall Observer in 1963 and went on to work in Fleet Street for the Sunday Express and later for both ITV and BBC news.

She worked in the media for 20 years before settling in Cheshire, where she built her own house, raised two daughters as a single mum and now has three grandchildren.