Writing what I know and writing what I learn…

I make believe for a living. I sit at my computer and make stuff up. Yet within the fictional worlds I create, the “facts” have to be correct.

So I draw from what I “know” from personal experience and education, or from what I “learn.” Each story requires research to fill in the details or verify that facts are correct.

On May 15, LazyDay Publishing will release Coming to Terms, a domestic discipline anthology of seven vacation-themed stories written by seven authors. My story, With or Without Him, is one of those. In With or Without Him, a wife in a domestic discipline marriage, runs off alone to an island paradise because she thinks her husband of 22 years has forgotten their anniversary. He chases after her. It’s a funny, light, but sexy read.

The plot is based in part on what I knew and in part on what I had to learn.

My experience to write the story included the following:

  • I’ve traveled to many islands all over the world, including the Caribbean, Tahiti, Hawaii, Greece, the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
  • My husband and I used to own a cabin cruiser and have gone on many boating trips.
  • I’ve snorkeled.
  • I’ve ridden a horse on several occasions (and once made the same mistake my heroine does. :-))
  • As a child I went on a school field trip to the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. (Why this is important to my story is spelled out at the end of this blog).

What I didn’t know and needed to check was:

  • How large does an island need to be to support an airport?
  • Should the airport be regional or international? What’s the difference between the two?
  • If someone is a “rancher,” how many cattle would he have in his herd?
  • How do you mount a horse (I’ve ridden before, but I had help mounting)?
  • What are the parts of a saddle called?
  • What were the character names in the musical Oklahoma?

So why are the La Brea Tar Pits important? Because the name of my fictitious locale is similarly based. Isla Island, the setting of my story, means “Island Island,” and was inspired by the La Brea Tar Pits. Brea means tar in Spanish. So it translates to the tar tar pits.

To read a blurb for Coming to Terms and my story, With or Without Him, click here.

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