Wednesday, January 23, 2013

HAVING FUN WITH RESEARCH






My guest is Terry Spear who writes some fabulous stories about wolf and jaguar shifters. I thoroughly enjoy her stories and stepping into a world created by Terry is almost as good as a vacation. I'd still like to find a nice beach with white sands, balmy warm breezes, and frothy turquoise waters, AND a Terry Spear book. Now, that would be a great vacation!



I love to research settings, animals (for shifter types), temperatures, plants, everything I can to make an urban fantasy story as real as werewolf and jaguar shifters can be. J

Visiting Grand Cayman Island was a lot of fun. I’d always wanted to set a story there because I thoroughly enjoyed it. When a story is set in a place you've been, it makes it easier. But I still did research to ensure I got my facts straight and added more details I missed—like about where the different types of sharks are located, and something about the huge amount of banks that are on the island (offshore bank accounts, ring a bell?), and more. I saw one when I was there, and it wasn't anything like what you might expect. I also saw a man in a business suit at the hotel where we were staying, chain around his wrist and a briefcase. Hmm-hm. And I included it in the story. The man and the stingray story? Happened to a man swimming near me. The tale the man told them about the ray with no tail? The shark with all the undigested ray tails? All of these the guide revealed to us during the snorkeling trip to feed the rays. So sometimes what I add is researched, and some of it is real. The pirates putting on a sword-fighting show was also real. Well, faked, but you what I mean. LOL

It was fun when Duncan couldn't stand it anymore and had to show how a real swordsman fought.

When I went to Grand Cayman Island, I did almost everything that Duncan and Shelley did, except swim and run as a wolf, and no fighting bad guys. I also went on a submarine, but Duncan and Shelley, being the wolves they are, didn't want to do that.

Since I also write thousands of blogs, I love to take photos of animals that I might share since they’re in the stories. I wish I’d had a decent camera to take pictures when I was on Grand Cayman Island. But that was one of the things I always forgot. A camera.

I’m getting better about it!

While visiting my son and daughter-in-law at Omaha, NE where my son is stationed in the AF, they took me to the zoo, and I got a lot of neat pictures of sharks and stingrays and jelly fish, caimans and jaguars—for my jaguar stories, and tons of other great stuff. But they had no wolves. They took me to another park, complete with wolves. My Thanksgiving was perfect!

My next story, A Highland Werewolf Wedding, is set in Scotland, and the castle ruins I used in the story, was actually one of the ones I visited and fell in love with. Visiting a place that you set your story can help to create a real world in a world of fantasy. Since I really loved it, like I did Grand Cayman Island, Scotland, and some of the silver mining towns in Colorado that I used to create Silver Town, Colorado, and the Oregon coast and Portland areas, I could create a world I loved, too. With a camera, I can take pictures to help me remember details I might forget. Tour guides can give details, too, that we might not be able to find by doing other kinds of research.

I’m still learning to use my new camera though. I spent a couple of hours at the local zoo, capturing a tiger cub playing with his mother, and a jaguar making its strange huffing roar because it was separated from her cub, and got home to find that I must not have turned the movie on when I was taking it.

*sigh*

I have to say that when I went to the Grand Cayman Island, I was still writing on a historical romance, and had no idea that one day, I would be writing a story about a hot Highland wolf meeting up with a sexy Texas she-wolf in that same island paradise.

Now, everywhere I go is a potential setting for a story.

Have you ever been somewhere that you can’t stop thinking about because you just had such a memorable time there?

Thanks so much to Sia for having me on her blog! And good luck to commenters!!

                                                                                                                                                                                   



BUY:   AMAZON,  B&N
A HOWL FOR A HIGHLANDER BY TERRY SPEAR – IN STORES FEBRUARY 2013


A Highland Wolf on a Mission...

Duncan MacNeill is hell-bent on catching the thief who's stolen the clan's fortune and run off to Grand Cayman Island. Duncan has rarely left his homeland and he couldn't care less about an island paradise. He never expected to find a beautiful distraction who will show him just how appealing paradise can be...

Meets a Dangerous Distraction...

Lone wolf and botanist Shelley Campbell headed to the island to study the old growth forests. She didn't count on meeting a handsome Highlander who can't keep his paws off her.

Excerpt (Amazon chapter read) 

"Fascinating characters and an exciting, action packed plot."  RTBook Reviews, 4 Stars



                                                                                                                                                  



FOR HOWL BLOG HOP IS A WOLF PRIZE PACK 
OF ONE OF TERRY'S BOOKS IN
HER WOLF SERIES

FOLLOW THE COUNTDOWN TO HOWL BOOK BLOGGER HOP:

1/24       Literal Addiction http://www.literaladdiction.com/ 
1/25       Under the Covers http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com/  
1/28       Book Lovin’ Mamas http://booklovinmamas.blogspot.com/ 
1/29       Anna’s Book Blog http://annavivian.blogspot.com/  
1/30       Urban Girl Reader http://www.urbangirlreader.com/  
                                                                                                                       



32 comments:

Arlee Bird said...

Research can be great fun. I'd like to be able to do more travel research. I can get totally lost if I start looking things up on Google.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Terry Spear said...

Hey, Arlee, me too! I've been working on one of my Highland Medieval romances, and though I've been to Scotland, I'm always researching more. Then I'll wonder why I haven't written anything! :)

Victoria said...

I like how you did everything your characters did in Grand Cayman "except" run and swim as wolves ;)?

Terry Spear said...

Yes, Victoria!!! I definitely did the swimming part...but keeping the wolf part at bay was my goal. Now...if I hadn't, I might have found a Duncan of my own there! :)

Melanie Schulz said...

Can I just say I love the music that always comes on when I go to your blog?

Johanna Garth said...

I love your photo driven research. Based on this post, I would guess your work is very visual.

Terry Spear said...

Thanks, Johanna! I love action and dialogue, and then I have to go back and set the scene. So seeing pictures of the various animals and the way they behave helps to describe scenes. Also being on location helps me to see/feel things you wouldn't find in book/online research. :)

In Savage Hunger, set in the Amazon, I read blogs that visitors to the jungle had written, spoke to a couple of people about their experiences there, watched a video of a jaguar catching a prehistoric catfish, and described it in the book. I had several comments from fans who had to look up pink dolphins after I described them in the Amazon River. I love to be able to share something that readers might not have known. :) Just like I hadn't known!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thanks Melanie!

Lee, I get lost quite frequently when doing research. So many fascinating bits of info out there.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Terry, I want to go to the jungle and stay in one of those tree top hotel type places with ziplines and topstory rope bridges. I think it would be so cool to see the jungle from the upper story.

Terry Spear said...

That would be! I'd love to see all the colorful birds and the orchids...I set Jaguar Fever in Belize this time and I thought it was interesting that their national bird is the Fruit Loops toucan. :)

One of the ladies I talked to about her visit to the Amazon, only weeks later the tree top bridge they took collapsed. It's not Disney World!!! :) It's like hundreds of feet up! Or was... :)

Carol Kilgore said...

I love research, too, Terry. And totally agree about visiting places your stories are set.

Sia, bring a Terry Spear book to the Tiki Hut and hang out in a hammock :)

Terry Spear said...

Carol, can you believe I couldn't get any takers to go to the Amazon! Scotland, and I didn't ask, but I imagine so for Grand Cayman! :) I've always heard the Fiji Islands are great!

diva donna said...

Thanks Sia, Dancing a jig with Duncan is a lot of fun. But dang if he didn't get sand and fur on my sweater. Terry, Do you pay for my dry cleaning too? I love your attention to details. It makes it seem so real.
I'd love to go back to visit Scotland.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Anyplace in Scotland would be fodder for a story. (Yes, I've been there. Very magical.)
I write science fiction, so it's difficult to visit my locations. Rather impossible. But there is always a photo or a movie or something that resonates and gives me a feel for what I am trying to capture.

Terry Spear said...

Hey, Donna, I can't believe you're concerned about sand and fur when you can have such a hot time away from the ice cold Minnesota with one hot Highland wolf!!!! :) Hope you're not too cold!

Terry Spear said...

Alex, I agree. I was playing an RPG, Dune, and it gave me an idea for a shape-shifter futuristic romance. But I've used photos of scenery in our world, or have thought of places I've been, to help describe the planet. Some scenery is so unusual it looks like something on a different planet. :)

When I took a picture of crabs at the zoo in NE they look like some kind of alien creature! :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

lOL! Oh, don't tempt me Carol. I love the view from the Tiki hut. I was just telling a friend of mine how I've had way too much stress to deal with the few week and the last specifically. I told her I wanted an ice beach somewhere with white sands, balmy breezes, and lacy turquoise ocean waves at my feet. Room service would be nice, lol!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Terry, me, me me. Ask me! I'll go. I'd go back to Scotland too, in a heartbeat.

As for the Amazon and other jungle type areas, I'd still love to see it. Hot? Sure, bug? so long as it's not the march of Army ants, shudder, I'm fine with bugs. Like you say, the flowers and animals to see would be worth the trip. Last time a friend of mine went to Fiji, she was delayed a day and she was glad of it because had she been there when she was scheduled? She'd have run smack into a Tsunami.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, if I could visit the locations in your books, I'd be there. I do love the imagination used in some movies of other planets. It does give a feel and look that would resonate.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I remember when I was at school I loved doing research of school assignments and now days I will often just search the web for random stuff.......

Terry Spear said...

I was researching about some items used in the first part of the 12th C for Taming the Wild Highlander, and came across Medieval baby bottles. LOL It's amazing what you'll learn! Not that I could use it, but it's fascinating!

Kittie Howard said...

Really enjoyed how the Caymen Islands triggered much. My stories are regional (Louisiana), but when I visited Botswana I thought what fun it would be to use this fab location.

Terry Spear said...

You'll have to, Kittie!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm disappointed you didn't have a chance to fight the bad guys. Where's the fun in that. :D

Terry Spear said...

LOL, Stina! I so agree!!! I really looked for trouble, really! :)

donnas said...

Great post. Must be fun to get to experience some of the setting you will end up using in a book.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Terry Spear said...

It is, Donna! Many of the places I've been I never guessed I'd be using in a book someday though! :)

Carol L. said...

I love research and I really appreciate the time an Author puts into researching for their books. I dream of the day I'll get to visit Scotland. Don't know when but I still dream. :)
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Di said...

I loved Hawaii - especially the Big Island with the volcano and the old lava fields.
sallans d at yahoo.com

Terry Spear said...

Me too! I loved a couple of the smaller islands too.

jmcgaugh said...

Scotland!

Vanessa N. said...

I do love Puerto Rico but I would to visit Australia or Scotland.

mythic021@gmail.com