Write what you know. I’ve received this advice over and over again at writers’ conferences. I agree it’s easier to write about a character you can relate to or a setting you know well. The first book I wrote was about a stressed-out businesswoman who was one frequent flyer mile shy from a total meltdown. Gee, could that have been me? In the story, she inherits majority shareholding in an airline and revamps it. Ahh, my dream come true. I’m an event planner, like the heroine Monica in my debut romantic comedy Under Her Spell. I’ve had twenty years to research her character’s profession. The only difference is I’m a corporate planner and she plans unique romantic events. A big difference, but we both still experience the stress of planning a flawless event only to have to troubleshoot all the issues that are out of our control when executing the event.
It may be easier to write about what you know, but I love conducting research for my books. It allows me to learn about new places and to experience new things. If I’m stuck on a scene, or just not motivated to write one day, I can still feel productive by doing research. And nowadays research is so easy with Google at my fingertips. Although I’m addicted to Google, the research I like best is the kind I can actively participate in.
The following are the top five things I experienced while researching Under Her Spell:
1) I learned how to cast a spell. I discovered that spell casting isn’t a bunch of hocus pocus. It’s about belief and focusing all your energy on achieving a goal. While conducting research for Under Her Spell, I created my own career spell. Deep down, I couldn’t help but wonder what if the spell worked and the next day I received “the call” from an editor. I didn’t sell the next day, but after having written numerous books, this was the first book I sold. When I submitted to Crimson Romance, I researched the line and discovered they’re owned by Adams Media, which publishes The Everything non-fiction books. There are hundreds of spell casting books out there, but what was the only research book I used while writing Under Her Spell? The Everything Spells & Charms Book. Hmm…
2) I drove a Vespa scooter. I was a bit nervous, since I’m not exactly adventurous. Sure, I like to travel to exotic destinations and try new foods, but you’ll never find me bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge in Zimbabwe or hang gliding across the Alps. In the book, Monica has problems starting her scooter. I had no clue how to start a scooter, so I really needed to experience it to write about it. First thing I learned about scooters is they are much heavier than they look. While trying to put the kickstand up I lost my balance and the scooter tipped. The salesman literally threw himself on the ground and together we rescued the scooter. Disaster averted, and I was relieved the poor guy didn’t break any bones. Yet, he still taught me how to start it and trusted me to cruise around the parking lot and side streets on it.
3) I attended Renaissance Faire. The Faire recreates the English port city of Bristol in the year 1574 with delicious food, fine spirits, music, dance, parades, rides, jugglers, and street entertainers. I was exposed to all sorts of new age ideas and enjoyed it so much I used it as a setting for a scene in the book. The Nobles Glen is a remote and serenely romantic location on the Faire’s grounds. The perfect backdrop for trouble.
4) I had my cards read. Monica’s psychic friend Jordan turned her onto to spell casting. Jordan frequently reads tarot cards, so I had my cards read by a psychic for the first time. I learned that I was on the path to great success. Interesting…
5) I learned about Argan oil. This is a nutty flavored oil produced in Morocco and used in cooking. It is becoming a cure-all for everything from psoriasis to rheumatism. I bought a bottle so I was familiar with the taste and texture. However, Monica doesn’t use it for cooking or as a cure-all. Use your imagination and read the book.
Please answer the following question to be entered to win a copy of my e-book Under Her Spell. Winners will be announced here on November 1.
THE WINNER is Shannon. Congratulations! Please contact me at eliza(a)elizadaly(dot)com. Thank you!
Do you enjoy conducting research, be it for a vacation, a new product you want to try, etc.?
I would like to thank Coffee Time Romance for helping me celebrate the release of my debut contemporary romance, Under Her Spell. And thank you to everyone who stopped by today. Please check out future stops on my blog tour, ending November 27. I’ll be giving away a variety of gifts, such as e-books, writing journals, and Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificates. If you comment on 5 stops, and are a Facebook fan, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win one of two $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificates at the end of my blog tour. Winners will be announced on my website’s news page the end of November. My December Holiday Giveaway for my readers will also be revealed at that time.
ABOUT ELIZA DALY
Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about beautiful women who always get their men. The journey from fourth grade script writer to published author wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it.
When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley and Frankie.