Saturday, March 27, 2010
Wild Card Weekend : Write What You Know
Write What You Know. Every time I hear that timeworn advice, I cringe -- because frankly, I don’t really “know” anything, or at least not anything I can use in a book.
Honestly, I have very limited areas of expertise. I can speak Spanish. I used to play the bagpipes. Having taught high school for years, I know the ins and outs of a typical school. But none of that helps me write romantic suspense. I should have become a smokejumper instead of a teacher. I should have joined the military or the FBI -- something that would have provided me with actual gun-shooting, villain-capturing skills. At least then I could write with real authority instead of spending so much time researching my books.
To make things worse, I’m invariably drawn to foreign settings. With parents who love to travel (they’ve visited thirty-six countries to date), I guess that was inevitable. The problem is, as much as I’d like to visit every place I set a book, I don’t always have the money or time.
Take my current book, THE ROYAL AFFAIR, book three of my miniseries, THE CRUSADERS. I decided to set it in the Himalayas for historic reasons. (The Roma, the main characters of the Crusaders series, originally came from that corner of the world.)
Photos of sadhus (ash covered ascetics sporting dreadlocks and face paint), gave me another idea. I decided to have a sadhu guard the cave which contained the secret they needed to solve.
By the end of the book, I knew more about the Himalayas than I did at the start -- some of it intriguing, some of it appalling -- all very enlightening.
So while I didn’t write what I knew, I learned as I wrote. And maybe that’s the point, after all.
Check out Gail's THE ROYAL AFFAIR, out this month from Silhouette Romantic Suspense!