Today I’m thrilled to have fellow Colorado Romance Writer, Sandra S. Kerns, on Jessica Aspen Writes. Today, Sandra tells us about her research efforts for her most recent romantic suspense novel Her Master Diver. Sandra’s romantic suspense has sailed up the charts and in a very short time she’s published twelve books, the most famous being her Masters Men series that features not just suspense, not just romance, but a family of tough, alpha heroes. Who doesn’t want an alpha hero to fall in love with and solve crimes? No wonder her books have been so successful. Welcome, Sandra, and thanks for blogging!
Research – Not the 4-Letter Word I Thought
I have never liked research. Maybe it’s the word. I love learning, but tell me I have to research something and I shut down. I do it, it’s part of a writer’s job, but I’ve never enjoyed it. Until now.
While brainstorming with a friend about the first sister’s book in the Masters Men series, my friend came up with the idea to do a female Indiana Jones. Her idea was that it would drive her over-protective brothers insane. I took it a step further and settled on an underwater archaeologist. Thankfully, my friend got the research ball rolling. The next week she brought me a list with maybe five sites to check out. She was so stoked I had to follow through.
Those first websites set me on a path to pirates, shipwrecks, underwater archaeologists, and a Try Scuba session. Talk about cool research!
I investigated the educational requirements needed to become an underwater archaeologist. After that, I needed a shipwreck to interest my characters, a ship that offered more than pirate treasure. I found it here: http://www.staugustinelighthouse.com/LAMP/Research/lostships.
La Trinité was the lead ship in a French fleet in 1565 landing near St. Augustine, Florida. Through this article, I found John deBry, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Historical Archaeology. I contacted him and he surprised me by inviting me to visit him and discuss the ship over a glass of wine. My husband and I were in Cocoa Beach, Florida, so we accepted his offer.
John’s love for his profession was contagious. He recommended three books and I bought them before we were back at our hotel. He told me no one has ever looked for La Trinité even though it had a major effect on our country’s history. Next year, John will be part of a dive for the ship as part of the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine, Florida.
I also needed to understand scuba diving. I have several friends who dive and were happy to share their knowledge and love for it. They even sent me an underwater video they took. I still didn’t know what it felt like, so I did Try Scuba. I was a bit apprehensive, I don’t even snorkel, but I gave it a go. It was amazing. It gave me a sense of how my heroine would feel underwater, the terminology, and equipment used. It made a huge difference.
This is just part of the research I needed. I can tell you this project taught me to enjoy research because not only does it help with writing a story, it can also give you the opportunity to try new things. For the first time, the research was almost as much fun as writing the book. For that reason, Her Master Diver will always be extra special to me.
So, the next time you’re reading a book that takes you somewhere you’ve never been, think about the journey the writer took to bring you there.
Blaze thought leaving school would get her life back on track. It seems to be working as she’s invited on the dive of her dreams. Then life throws her into a storm, a break-in, hit and run, sabotage and murder all center around her. Can Blaze and her charismatic project manager unravel the problems surrounding the expedition, or will her Masters men brothers have to fly out to save the day?
Sandra S Kerns
Originally from upstate New York, Sandra now lives in Northern Colorado where she writes romantic suspense. She belongs to Romance Writer’s of America and two of its chapters as well as Crested Butte Writers. She has won or placed in several writing awards including CRW’s Heart of the Rockies, Crested Butte Writers’ Sandy, and Kiss Of Death’s Daphne. She enjoys speaking at conferences and writing groups, as well as encouraging other writers, both young and old. While writing and talking about it are enjoyable, she really loves interacting with her readers on Facebook, Twitter and her website.
Google+: Sandra Kerns on Google+