Debra did quite a bit of research for A Christmas to Remember.
The inspiration for A Christmas to Remember came from a song of the same name sung by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Every year at Christmas while listening to the song, ideas for a story would spin in my head. One year I finally sat down and got around to writing it. The theme of Christmas was easy. I love Christmas so it was a delight to play up all of my favorite things about the holiday to include in the story.
The setting, however, was a bit trickier. A line from the song goes: "curled up by the fireplace in a Tahoe ski chalet". I didn't want to copy the song exactly, so I moved the chalet to Colorado, but I definitely wanted to stick with a ski resort.
Problem was, I'd never skied a day in my life. Normally I use settings I'm familiar with, as in I've been there before, so this was new territory for me. What did I do? Headed to the trusty library, of course. When I do need to research, my reference books of choice are usually found in the Youth section. Youth non-fiction books have lots of pictures and easy-to-understand text. They break things down into simpler terms, without getting bogged down with too much detail. So, I found a few of those and then also checked out either "Skiing for Dummies" or "The Idiot's Guide to Skiing". Again, for the basics: simple, clear, not too detailed.
After doing my research I really, really wanted to get brave and head out on a ski holiday...maybe one of these days.
In writing the skiing scenes, I used lots of the information I'd gathered. Perhaps a tad too much. One of my editor's comments said those scenes read a bit like an instructional manual. Oops. I got so carried away and excited about the things I was discovering that I forgot to focus on the relationship that was developing. Instead I was aiming to share all of the wonderful things I learned about skiing.
After some creative editing, I shifted the focus of the scenes back to the romance, while still keeping many of my newly-found details about this popular winter sport.
And I learned something else, too, getting the details right and authentic is super important, but even those super-interesting and newly discovered facts shouldn't overshadow the main focus of the story: the romance between my hero and heroine.
Until next time,