There is a saying that goes, “Write what you know.”
As much as that’s helpful, that would be a very short-lived career. I am an army wife, the ex-wife of a drug addict, a cook, a mother, a special needs mother, and…that’s what I know. All of my characters who are anything but those things, I had to learn. I have an entire series for four books where all of the main characters are musicians — one plays violin, one plays piano, and two sing. I honestly am completely tone def and wrote those characters with the intent of using my writing and letting my characters come alive so that I could somehow learn to understand music.
Write what you know, in my opinion, includes research. It takes research for me to write anyone who doesn’t fit into my personal “this is me” boxes.
I am celebrating the release of my 30th book today! It’s called Valerie’s Verdict, and is book 2 in the Dixon Brothers Series. (Book 1, Courting Calla, is free through this Wednesday). Valerie is an architect, and her love interest Brad, is the president of Dixon Contracting, a large contracting company. I had to research what those jobs meant, what those days looked like, their education, how they might think and therefore act/react.
Valerie is also African-American. I am not. Brad isn’t, either. As much as I’d be able to guess how a white woman would think and perceive the world dating a black man, I didn’t know what that would look like the other way around. So, I felt like it was important to research that as well. I live on a military installation. In the military, interracial marriages are very common and I have several friends who are married to white men. I talked to them, had them beta read my finished book, got great feedback. But I also wanted more. I wanted internal thoughts and feelings that a non-writer may not be able to give me the way I needed them.
I turned to books. I found several inspirational romances written by black women where the woman was black and the man was white, and spent a good week immersing myself in their worlds. One of my inspyauthor writers was one of them! Toni Shiloh! One of the books I read of hers was Finding Love in her Maple Run series. I enjoyed it so much! Highly recommend it!
The fact is, I didn’t write what I knew. But I did learn about what I wrote and it became part of my arsenal of what I know. It was a wonderful experience and I truly came to love the characters in this book. Early reviews from beta readers are pouring in, and the consensus is wonderful! This is a very exciting day for me as I celebrate the release of a very special book.
VALERIE FLYNN grew up with the Dixon brothers, never differentiating one more than the other. When she leaves for college, she puts Atlanta and her childhood behind her, ready to make a life for herself somewhere else. An abusive relationship almost destroys her physically and emotionally, and manages to wipe out her relationship with God.
Since boyhood days, BRAD DIXON has always carried a flame for VALERIE. Her engagement to another man shattered his dreams. When she comes home, battered and bruised, recovering from a nearly fatal relationship, he prays God will use him to help her heal.
VALERIE returns to Atlanta seeking a fresh start, but she finds herself in a strange place. Not only is BRAD now her boss, she starts to develop feelings for him. Is it possible she can overcome the past and open herself up to another relationship, or did the damage done to her body and soul permanently take away any chance of happiness and love?
Can you tell when an author hasn’t done enough research? Does it throw you out of the story, or are you able to just ignore and keep reading? One commentor will receive an autographed paperback of Courting Calla and a Dixon Contracting coffee mug!