Ginger: When I first started writing, I didn’t think there would be much research in writing contemporary novels. Boy was I wrong! To write about anywhere other than where I have lived, I have to research roads, traffic, weather patterns, and much more. There are also local euphemisms and preferred foods. Sweet tea, a southern staple, will not be served in the north. And I’m sure there are northern preferences that I don’t know about since I’ve never lived anywhere but the south.
When my fellow Love in Mistletoe Springs authors and I decided to set the story outside of Seattle, WA, I knew I had some research to do. I had the opportunity to visit the Seattle area, but it was after we’d already turned in our stories. It wouldn’t have changed my story much, but I actually got to walk through SeaTac airport—which my heroine has to do—and see how things looked there. I could have added a few more airport specific details.
My fellow authors laughed at me when I asked them if they wanted a copy of my moon and weather calendar. Having never been in that part of the world before, I didn’t know anything about their weather. It’s part of my book preparation to know what the days are like. Is it going to be hot and sunny, or overcast and cool? Turns out most days in Seattle are overcast, though not necessarily cool. Of course, that wasn’t the case while I was there. Both Saturdays (one before and one after the cruise my husband and I took) were sunny and warm. I typically type in the location and the time of year and get a general overview of what the temperatures and precipitation could be like, and then do whatever fits within those parameters. Www.accuweather.com shows a month at a time.
I also like to chart the moon. If the year of the book is not specific, I pick a recent year and use it. I need to remember if they’re outside at night one week and the moon is full for their first kiss, then the next week, it can’t be fully dark, unless the moon is covered by clouds. Here’s the place I use: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/moonphases.html. This allows me to pick the year and gives specific dates for each phase of the moon.
As a seat-of-the-pants writer, these are just a few of the things I do to prepare myself for the story to unfold. After I get all of that down, I jump right in.
How about you? What do you do to prepare for your story?
~~~~~~Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs.
Blurb for Love in Mistletoe Springs:
The Mistletoe Springs animal shelter loses their grant, endangering the lives of countless stray dogs, cats, even birds and turtles. The community attempts to save the shelter by running a Christmas in July fundraiser. Groups of volunteers scramble to get all the details together while managing their personal lives. For ten people, love gets in the way.
Blurb for Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge:
Mitch Silverton agreed to be in charge of decorating for the fundraiser. And he needs his boss, Margaret Holberg, to donate her family's vast array of decorations to make the day unforgettable. BUT... She's not sharing. Christmas is not a holiday she wants to celebrate in July, and saving the animal shelter is not high on her list of important things to do. He wants her to share more than the decorations. He wants her heart. Will he succeed in changing Miss Scrooge into Mrs. Christmas?
Buy Link: Amazon