I write contemporary romance and tend to write what I know. For example, the setting of my first book This Time for Always is the bar where my husband and I met. In Wild Wedding Weekend I took Noah and Abby to some of the same places my hubby and I visited on our honeymoon. For This Can't Be Love, I set the story in our favorite vacation place in the Ozarks. Having seen something in person helps me to be able to describe it on paper. In my current WIP "This Feels Like Home", Jake is a bullrider...and although I've never ridden a bull myself, my husband has, and we love watching the sport on tv and in person, so it's definitely something I'm familiar with.
For my latest work, A Christmas to Remember (Which was just contracted by The Wild Rose Press this week!...Yippie!), I totally stepped outside of the box and took my characters someplace I'd never been before. I have to say...it was a different experience.
My setting is a ski resort, and I've never been to one. (Too afraid of breaking my leg.) So I made good use of Google and searched maps and layouts of resorts, how to get on and off of a ski lift, and even what cuisine might be served. Having the Internet at my fingertips is a valuable resource. If I'm stuck on a point I simply open a new window, and with a few clicks of my mouse, I have the information I need. I also checked out Skiing for Dummies from the library. Wa la! Instant ski lesson for my hero to give my heroine.
Then I decided I wanted my hero to be a Secret Service agent. All I really knew about them were that they're the guys who protect the President. So I went back to Google and checked out a few books on this topic as well. (When using books for research, I find that Youth non-fiction works best for me. The text is simple and easy to understand, highlighting the main points of what I need to know, and there are usually plenty of pictures.)
In one part, the hero gives the heroine a necklace. I had an idea in mind, but found I wasn't doing a very good job of describing it on paper. Once again, I hit the Internet, did a search for a pink snowflake necklace, and I had a visual reference.
All in all, I learned a lot and hopefully added some depth and rounded out several plot points in my story.
Until next time,