All in the name of research…
I thought I’d write a bit about the research that is done when an author (well, most of us) write a book. People may think writing romance is easy. Huh. Writing isn’t that easy, let alone in a specific genre. Because behind the love scenes and the relationship story, there’s a shit ton of research that goes into my books. My characters aren’t one dimensional and have careers and lives outside of their romantic life. And to make them believable, you have to immerse yourself in their lives and find out what makes them tick.
To give you an idea of what we go through, here are some of the books I’ve written and the type of research I’ve done to make sure the story is the best one I can write.
Worth Keeping was written with the main MC’s living in a lighthouse. It made sense that I needed to see inside an actual structure so I had an idea what I was describing when I write about their lives between the round walls. I approached a charity called Trinity House who manage the UK’s lighthouses around the nation. They kindly let me go in to the Cromer Lighthouse in Norfolk with a maintenance crew (pictured) to do a tour. It was an epic experience.
Then of course for Living On Air, I lived with a circus for a while. It was a LOAD of fun and very educational. I was lucky to find that Santus Circus was willing to let me stay with them and live in one of their caravans. I had access to the ring, the performer’s area and backstage. They were extremely hospitable and I owe them a huge debt of thanks. The caravan was small, but cosy, but it had no running water and the toilet didn’t flush properly. We snuck out one night after dark, went home, slept in a proper bed, had a shower, then snuck back into the circus at the crack of dawn so no one knew we were missing….
For this story, I also purchased a cilice similar to the one Cary uses to inflict his self-harm. I wanted to find out what it felt and looked like as an implement. It’s rather painful. I still have it 😊
You can read more about this experience here https://divinemagazine.biz/circus-shenanigans-life-and-me/
When writing Damaged Goods, I needed to understand what it was like to be blind. So to I would blindfold myself at the dining room table, when I was writing, to get the feel of what it was like not being able to read the keys and instead have to use voice software to type out the words I wanted. It was an interesting and unsuccessful experiment. I realised the software doesn’t always recognise the words I was saying … plus the fact my family came home one time to me playing blind and talking to myself and I didn’t realise they were watching 😊
My wonderful blind friend Lynsey travelled down from the North for the weekend, to bring down the tools of her trade. Braille, a pair of glasses with the lenses blacked out apart from one small pinprick of light, which replicates her actual sight, and a white stick. She used her experience of waking up one day unable to see to cajole me about the garden wearing the glasses and made me go up and down stairs with the cane. It’s a sobering experience to lose one of the senses we are so reliant on. It gave me a good feel for Jax in the story and how he coped each day.
I’ve also gone on a day Penguin Zookeeper for a Day pass at Colchester Zoo to give me an idea of what that’s like. This was in relation to my recent release, called Rubbing One Out which is a sassy, supernatural weaving of a grumpy zoo keeper meeting a being he didn’t think truly existed. But when he does, hoo boy. Ben doesn’t know what’s hit him when Dae literally appears in his world. Dae is Leslie Tiberius Scott and Birdy Dobbs on steroids. Oh, and there are a load of mis-behaving penguins in this book
This little clip should make you smile…. CUTE PENGUIN FAILS