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“What’s the strangest tidbit you discovered in researching your novel?”
That’s a question I like to ask other writers in interviews. Or, “what’s the most interesting thing you learned,” or “what was the most fun to research?”
Today I’m asking myself those questions. Writing suspense novels means most of what I research is unpleasant. Sometimes I even wonder if someone in a uniform will show up at my door to take away my laptop. I try to get the difficult topics out of the way first, so I can reward myself with the lighter things.
So… here’s what I’d call the most fun… and the strangest:
Heaven’s Prey: most fun: definitely the racing. In the name of research, I attended the movie Kart Racer, about a boy learning to race competive go-karts. Much later in the process, I discovered a slew of online videos on driving tips and engine sounds.
Secrets and Lies: most fun: spending a day with my husband, visiting the Centre Island Park where Carol and Joey picnicked in the novel.
Without Proof: strangest: causes of small plane crashes. In all seriousness, plane crashes are not funny. People get hurt or killed, costly damage happens. But setting the tragedy aside momentarily, some of the circumstances of these accidents are highly amusing. My favourite, I think, is the crocodile incident as described below:
A passenger brought aboard a crocodile hidden in a sports bag. The crocodile escaped, causing a panic among passengers who all rushed to one end of the plane. This caused an imbalance in the aircraft which led to loss of control and a crash.
The article at the PlaneCrashInfo.com site is lengthy, but it’s an interesting history of unusual accidents from 1933 to 2010. Some are sabotage, others are stupidity. If you’re so inclined, there’s a lot more things to check out on the site.
What about my new series? The crime and health resources would give spoilers for the books, and they’ve been neither fun nor strange so far. One thing I’ve been looking at is dory photos, to find out what the boat looks like in front of the Green Dory Inn. (The boat’s not seaworthy, and the owner has turned it into a flower garden.)
Oh — and what I think may be the most fun research? I’d like to know what the best chocolate dessert is in the Town of Lunenburg, and where it’s available. Who says research can’t be hands-on?
Extra post this weekend… because I found out that my books are included in a half-price sale in the Kobo store! [Don’t have a Kobo? They have a free app to download for your tablet, phone or computer.]
If you wanted to read them before Without Proof comes out in November, now’s your chance. The following links are for the Canadian store, but Kobo sells worldwide. Outside of Canada, just go to your country’s Kobo store and search “Redemption’s Edge Sketchley”.
To buy: add the book(s) to your cart, proceed to checkout, and scroll down to see where to add a promotion code. Type SALE50 and you’ll see the discount apply. It works on more than one book, so stock up for fall reading! Sale ends August 31.
Just a quick post to let you know about two opportunities to win a copy of my books:
At suspense author Patricia Bradley’s blog: one copy of Secrets and Lies (Canada and US only, ends Aug. 16)
At the Koala Mom’s blog: one set of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies (Canada and US only, ends Aug. 31) There are plenty of other giveaways at this site, too, since author Bonnie Way is celebrating a blogging anniversary.
Ron Hughes from HopeStreamRadio interviewed me last month, and while it’s not archived on their site, I’ve posted it to mine. We talked about a few aspects of writing and about my novels, and I read an excerpt from Secrets and Lies. The interview is about ten minutes long, if you’d like to have a listen (just click the “play” triangle in the media player below). And do check out HopeStreamRadio. They currently provide about two hours of content per day, which repeats throughout the day. There’s teaching, music, and a variety of interesting content (including author interviews!)
[Media player didn’t show up for you? Click here to listen to the interview.]
The Clean Indie Reads group is giving away over 40 ebooks! One winner gets them all, and will be well-stocked for reading for the next little while 🙂 The books for the Grand Prize can all be seen at the March Madness Grand Prize link.
You can enter at each stop on this blog hop, and the more times you fill out the form, the more chances you’ll have.
My contribution to the Grand Prize is a copy of my Christian romantic suspense novel, Secrets and Lies.
Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.
Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.
Several of the Clean Indie Reads authors have dropped their prices for a sale at the same time. Grab a good read (or more!) now at the CIR sale site.
Enter below for the Grand Prize, and remember you can enter at each blog. So, once you’ve entered, click the blue frog image at the bottom of this post to reach the other stops on the blog hop. Contest dates: March 16-20, 2015. As always, contest void where prohibited by law.
[Edited: Congratulations to Shelly Hammond, winner of the Grand Prize package. Forty-one books… hmm… I’m not sure that’s a full year’s worth, but it’ll keep Shelly reading for a while. Thank you to everyone who participated in the blog hop. I hope you had fun and discovered some new-to-you authors.]
If the entry form doesn’t load properly for you, you can enter the draw by following this link.
Ready to hop on to the next stop?
[Don’t see the frog? You can reach the blog hop list here.]
Most of the settings in Secrets and Lies are fictional: Carol’s café, the Linden House art gallery, the apartments, Paul’s school. Two sites are real: the Roy Thomson Hall where Carol and Patrick attend the symphony, and the Toronto Island parks.
I wrote the island scenes with some help from Google Maps, but in 2013 my husband and I were in Toronto and visited the island parks. Like Carol and Joey, we took a water taxi to the islands and rode back on the regular ferry. I took hundreds of pictures, to capture the feel, and although we visited in mid-August and Carol and Joey went in September, they may have seen things like this:
One reader will win a copy of Secrets and Lies on 2/1/15.
Enter now, and feel free to share with your friends who like Christian romantic suspense…
Entry details on Anne Garboczi Evans’ blog.
Where do writers get their ideas? If you’ve read Secrets and Lies, you met Patrick’s cat. (Although, as he says, it’s hard to think of something that independent as his.)
The cat appears in chapter 6. Carol and Patrick are in his living room. It’s her first time there, and she chose to sit in the rocking chair:
As Patrick pulled his cell from his pocket, a slender Siamese cat paraded into the room and positioned itself in front of the rocking chair like a guard. Its stare turned Carol’s admiration to unease.
He looked up, and the question on his face turned to resignation as he saw the cat. He set the phone on the table in front of him. “I know, Isis. It’s all right. Go find something else to do.”
Carol risked another glance. The cat’s blue eyes glowed, irises narrowed in the equivalent of a scowl. A low rumble vibrated its throat. Carol shivered. “Patrick?”
Muttering a curse, he pushed up from his chair. The cat swivelled one ear in his direction and crouched to spring. The unblinking blue eyes targeted Carol’s face. The rumbling growl deepened to a snarl.
Carol bolted from the rocker. She caught at the door frame to steady herself, her feet sliding on the hardwood floor. She checked for pursuit, but the cat was sitting straight and tall in the rocking chair, staring at her.
[Later, in the safety of another room, Patrick explains:]
“Isis considers humans to be lower life forms, with the exception of my wife. She and Rita had a special bond, and she is somewhat… protective. That rocker was Rita’s favourite chair. I usually put it away before I have guests.” [Excerpt from chapter 6 of Secrets and Lies, by Janet Sketchley]
I’ve been accused of being a “dog person” because of this cat, and let me say I love cats and I don’t intend this one to represent the greater feline population. On the other hand, I have a hearty respect for the attitude with which a self-respecting and indignant cat can fill a room…
Why would I name the cat Isis? That’s an Egyptian goddess, as well as a violent Islamic organization. I knew the cat’s name before I knew about the terrorists, and although they made me think a bit, I decided to keep it.
Patrick’s wife, Rita, likely named the cat after the Egyptian goddess, but for me the name was prompted by an episode of the original Star Trek series. “Assignment, Earth” featured a human raised on another planet, and a beautiful alien woman who shape-shifted into a black cat (named Isis). Attitude and territory were two traits she radiated.
My fictional Isis is Siamese, because of the elegance and nobility they possess. (In fairness, the only two Siamese cats I’ve met have been very affectionate.)
Her territorial aggression? It’s a nod to my childhood pet, a black cat named Willie, who was nowhere that hostile — but he did claim ownership of one of the living room chairs, and if a visitor sat in it, Willie would sit in the middle of the room and stare hard enough to make the visitor uncomfortable.