…a literary journey
Speaking of her writing process, author Jacquelyn Mitchard said, “I do a great deal of research. I don’t want anyone to say, ‘That could not have happened.’”
I imagine most writers feel this way, but it’s not just about having your facts straight. One of the great things about writing a novel is putting your characters into places and situations that interest you. While my novel, Oldsters, is best described as a character-driven, upmarket fiction work, I’ve spent many happy hours researching the places Eddie, Nick, Lila and the rest of the group go, and the situations they run into which play out behind the conversations that are the heart of this book.
For any new followers of my blog, Oldsters follows a group of friends who live in a retirement center in Illinois and take off on a road trip down Route 66 to Albuquerque, NM. Think Thelma & Louise meets The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel! Two themes intersect in the novel – the idea of second chances and the fact that no matter what age you are, life’s triumphs and trials remain the same. Love, betrayal, friendship, loss – the human experience doesn’t change that much at all as we go from 18 to 80.
But I digress…
I have to keep myself on high alert when I’m researching, because it’s so easy to get carried away and lose track of precious writing time. I can start with the best intentions and before you know it, I’ve spent 30 minutes checking out the calendar of events for the upcoming Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque for 2015…when my story is set in 2012!
With that said, as fiction writers, we do want to make our stories authentic – and that takes some leg work. I thought it would be interesting to share a sampling of the items of those elements that are helping me make Oldsters the best it can be!
This is only stuff that made it into the book…if you’re a writer you understand. Think about the time spent researching the small stuff, just to make sure you can write a line or two about that quirk your character has, where they grew up that gave them that regional turn of phrase they use when they’re happy or worried – the list is endless.
So yes, I agree with Ms. Mitchard – I want the future readers of Oldsters to know that I cared enough to do it right…I just have to put my credit card away so I don’t book a trip for next year’s Balloon Fiesta!