"YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT I DID TO RESEARCH MY NOVEL"
I don't know about you, but if I’m reading a book and there are inaccuracies that could have been fixed with a little research it takes me right out of the book. I used to be a police dispatcher and for the most part public safety folks, both police and fire, are pretty cool about sitting down and telling you what's right and what is pure fiction. Fiction is good - I read fiction, but if something is wrong, it's wrong. Okay, I did have a bit of a time getting someone from Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to talk to me so I could make my BATF agent, Ryan Michaels in my McKenna Series factually accurate. On the other hand, when I contacted the United States Marshals for some historical information for Kendrick Parker in my Bride Series they put me through to their historian in Washington, D.C. who spent about two hours on the phone with me going through some very specific details. You can find the info you are looking for; sometimes you just need to dig a bit.
Given my own "geek factor" personality I love researching a new book. I spend hours in the library pouring through reference materials and interview people who actually work in the field or have historical information for my historical romances. And then there's the really fun research. Until I started doing my research for SAPPHIRE, my current work in progress, what I did for WITH ALL DISPATCH was probably the most fun—I lived a day in my characters' lives starting with getting up at the same time they would have for the story. First stop was the Cheese Factory just outside Novato, California, which has been around since the late 1800's and they still make a fabulous cheese. Breakfast was some of their cheese on homemade rosemary bread. There is a duck pond on the grounds and some of the water fowl came to share the meal. While siting and sharing my meal with some friendly ducks I pulled out my netbook and wrote Gareth and Molly's scene.
From there I drove over the covered bridge and out to the coast. The Pacific that day was breathtaking. The ocean can be quite hypnotic and watching the deep blue-green waves travel in and out, watching the tide changes and coastal wild life go about their business paved the wave for Gareth to talk about his past life. That would be the life he led ohhh, about 1500 years ago. Of course Molly, the love of his life, doesn’t quite believe him. Surely a man who traveled from the past wouldn't be all that interested in by the book, sees things in black and white and lives by the rules Molly. So she thinks.
My actual goal for the day was the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse. Lighthouses are their own special kind of magic. And the stories they could tell not only about the long ago sailors who relied on their guidance, but some of the modern day visitors. There is a certain romance to the towers. The on duty ranger provided some great input -- with Gareth ever near the edge of my imagination providing ideas for just what he and Molly would be up to.
Instead of taking the "short way" home I chose to travel down Highway 1 and the coastal route. With its steep cliffs and winding roadway you get the sense of being in another time and place. As darkness and the evening fog settled over the coast I headed inland and stopped for dinner at the Pelican Inn, an authentic 16th century British Inn. I opted for the kind of meal Gareth would enjoy -- Shepherd's Pie with truffle for dessert.
Later on in the story, when Gareth and Molly have their "dark moment", that moment when their relationship is going to make or break I spent another day driving up and down Highway 121 in Napa looking for the exact spot where their confrontation takes place. Six or seven passes the exact spot caught my attention. Walking around in the field, taking in the scents, noises and watching out for the occasional cow patty it was pretty easy to picture that earth shattering confrontation.
More recently one of my friends came along to do some of that helping with my research for SAPPHIRE. When we heard that the Lady Washington, an exact replica of the original tall ship, was coming to down we headed down to Sausalito, California to spend the day on board sailing. The crew was fantastic and the steward, Cat, spent the better part of two hours answering questions, helping with plot points and describing life what they know of life on the high seas. She’s lived on board for most of the past 3 years. While we cruised the way the Lady Washington and its traveling companion, the Hawaiian Chieftain had a mock battle complete with cannons. They say if you can sail San Francisco bay you can sail anywhere. The day of our sail was warm, sunny and crystal clear.
I don't know if you're like me and always plan to see the sites in your local area. I know when I lived in New York I always planned to visit certain places like the Statute of Liberty but never got around to it. I've lived in the San Francisco Bay area for years and haven't yet made my way to Alcatraz. I'm thinking it may be time for one of my books to take place there just so I have to make the journey out to the famous island in the bay. Meanwhile, Gareth's brother, Gehris, will be eating at Cliff house before too long and they still have pictures of the original gothic structure around. Anyone care to join Gehris and I?
Here's an excerpt from one of Regan's books:
WITH ALL DISPATCH
BOOK 2 of the Treasures Antique Series
Head spinning, Molly Tanner sat down on the bed unable to breathe let alone move. Something that just couldn’t happen, happened.
It just wasn’t possible. No how. No way
“This has to be a joke, a really bad joke,” she muttered, a photograph gripped tightly in her hand.
She looked around the room and weakly called, “You can come out now. The both of you. Really. Actually make that all three of you. Come on Taister, no playing silly cat games this morning.”
Shaking ever so slightly, Molly scooched off her roommate, Carrie Taylor’s, bed and on to the floor. Not that she was worried about Carrie finding her in her room. After all, the twosome had been friends since they were kids. Growing up with her dark-haired friend had been an adventure with Carrie always finding something new and different for them to get in to. Then one day, not so long ago, Carrie brought home a photograph.
A very old photograph.
And damn if Carrie and her cat Taister weren’t sitting in that very photograph this very minute looking like they’d both caught the canary.
Molly flipped it over and studied the paper. “Nope, this isn’t the photo-shopped version of you and Black Eagle. Nope, nope, not at all. This is the real deal. Carrie, you really did it this time. Or not.”
Lifting her hips off the floor Molly turned and peered under the white-eyelet comforter that covered Carrie’s bed and spied nothing but a few of Taister’s silky black cat hairs.
She sniffed. Nothing, except the sulfur-like smell that greeted her when she first walked into Carrie’s room minutes ago, permeated the air. She brought the photograph up to eye level and shook her head, “At least you could have left a note.”
She snickered to herself. “A note? That said what? Hi! I’m back in time with the man I love?”
She shook her head and then snapped her fingers. “Mr. Merle! I’ll talk to Mr. Merle and he’ll know what happened. Right? I mean, he’s the one who gave you this darn photograph in the first place. He’ll know where you’ve gone and if you’re coming back.”
She stood and walked over to Carrie’s closet. Peering inside, she saw it was as neat and orderly as ever. It didn’t appear that even a scarf was missing. Clearly Carrie hadn’t packed before taking off to wherever she went.
“Not that anyone has time to pack before time traveling.” Molly laughed, just short of hysterical. “Right. Like I have so much experience with time travel. Let’s see what or who I know who’s done it? There’s Black Eagle coming here. And then there’s Black Eagle going back to his home and yup, that’s a lot of experience you have there, Molly. You’re a virtual expert. Yup, and going a little bonkers here talking to yourself.”
Molly turned to study her reflection in Carrie’s mirror. “I suppose that’s true though. I mean, how many people time travel or know people who do? Me, and maybe Mr. Merle if he’d admit to it. It’s not the kind of thing you can bring up in every day conversation; ‘say, Janice, did you happen to travel to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation? Liz the first I mean. What did you think?’ Nope. Can’t exactly do that. If people didn’t think you were crazy before they’d know it after a crack like that.”
She padded back to Carrie’s bed as if she carried the weight of the world in her hands rather than the yellowed photograph, and sat. There they were, Carrie, Black Eagle and Taister, in the photograph…together, in time, forever. Carrie had made it back to her man.
“So now, what do I do? Do I try to bring you home? Or let you live the rest of your life in the past sans latte’s, microwaves and Jacuzzis? Should I be happy for you or sad that I’ll never see you again? And why am I asking a photograph?”(to be continued)
From earliest childhood today’s guest author, Regan Taylor, was an avid reader. Upon discovering Alexander Dumas and Charles Dickens she was hooked on books that carried the reader away to a different time and place. Preferring the quiet of her room and a good book to spending time with people, she traveled far beyond those four walls. It was while working as a police dispatcher, first for the California Highway Patrol and then her local police department, she began to write fiction, primarily time travels and romantic suspense. In the spring of 2009 she returned to the day job she always liked best, working as a legal secretary. Curled up in her bunny slippers with her furfaced children, Mel, Missy and Bogie, while writing is one of her favorite things to do.
Regan's Published Novels
- The Spell - Book 1 of the McKenna Crime Series
- The Glass Cage - Book 2 of the McKenna Crime Series
- Indentured Bride - Book 1 of the Bride Series with Awe-struck Books
- Ghost of a Chance - Cafe Nowhere Anthology with eXtasy Books
- Four of Cups - Tarot series with eXtasy Books
- Her Knight in Shining Amour - The Knight of Pentacles
- Jason's Accord - Book 1 of the Descendants of Earth series with eXtasy Books
- Michael's Flight - Book 2 of the Descendants of Earth Series
- His Eyes - with Bookstrand
My interview for this week is being hosted by erotic romance writer, Corinne Davies at www.daviesromance.blogspot.com . I'm sure you'll find a couple of exciting reads among Corinne's excting books for your summer reading pleasure.