I’ve always enjoyed books where I learned something along with having a great ride with the story.
One story that’s stuck in my mind has to do with a young woman living below Wall Street when New York City was an early colony. The author was skilled at recreating the time, and talked about the actual wall from which the street theoretically got it’s name. (There’s some doubt about that today.)
Unfortunately, the name of the book is lost in the mists of my memory. I was in my twenties then, working on Broad Street in lower Manhattan, commuting three hours each way on a train from Port Jervis, New York. Yes, I did some crazy things in my life. Did I mention I was seven months pregnant at the end of that job?
Anyway…it was a long time ago. That child now has children of his own and I’m reaping the benefits. :-))
When I work on my own books, I am meticulous about research. I also have critique partners who keep me honest about all things Montanan and having to do with guns, rodeo, outfitting, and how to say things. (One friend recently informed me that no one in their right mind went to the target range. They merely went to the range.)
As a result, I’ve learned a lot.
While I had known about wine making because my husband and I had done books on small wineries in our area, I didn’t know about the wine region of Luguria, Italy, until I did the research for California Wine and spent time with Google Earth, taking a virtual trip. When the region was hit with devastating floods, my heart went out to these people I felt I’d gotten to know.
I also watched endless videos on making ravioli. I still have the itch to try now and again, but haven’t quite gotten there yet. I make enough of a mess when I bake bread!
California Homecoming intensified my knowledge of veterans and their plight. The prosthetics office in Helena let me know about Fisher House Foundation and the wonderful work they do. I was able to bring more realism to the book because I learned about small things like climbing stairs–something we take for granted–but a feat can be difficult with a prosthetic. Research also led me to groups like Operation Amped, dedicated to helping injured vets get back on a board.
May is National Mental Health Month. California Thyme came out in time to honor all those who suffer from this serious, but invisible disease. Bi-polar issues were dealt with in a realistic way. People who have suffered, or live with someone who suffered told me I hit it spot on. I was honored.
I was determined to write something about the immigration crisis. I lived in the Santa Cruz region of California for about fifteen years and became close to several Latina families who lived in Watsonville. One of my fellow authors had worked with Cesar Chavez in the Farmworker’s Union. Through her, I got to know Ramon Resa, author of Out of the Fields, who became my model for the hero of the book.
I enjoy writing about real people, with real problems, who begin to experience real love. I hope you will join me from time to time. Learning from entertainment can be interesting indeed!
All five books in my California Romance series are available as a bundle for pre-order for under a dollar on Nook and Amazon. Just search for California Wishes and Dawes.