We’re all told to “write what you know,” and I do that a lot. Of course, I wasn’t actually on the Titanic, but I did a lot of research when writing COLD APRIL. Then some of the fascinating facts I learned went into the seven posts to this blog which I wrote starting last August 22nd. I’ll get to tell about them again when I give a talk at the Rancho Mirage library in April.
My latest e-book, STRANGER IN PARADISE, (Only 99 cents until March 15) also had its share of facts that didn’t get in the book, and I think you’ll find them interesting.
My hubby and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon and stayed in a hotel on Waikiki beach with a splendid fourteenth floor view of the ocean. Then, one morning during our visit, we heard air raid sirens and found it was a tsunami alert because of an earthquake in Alaska. Police cars drove up and down Kalakaua Avenue with loudspeakers warning people to leave the beach and go to higher ground. We were in no danger in our high rise. In fact, people who lived in small houses behind the hotel came to our fourth floor roof--where there was an outdoor swimming pool--for safety.
The sight of a completely deserted beach and no surfers riding waves was as awesome to me as the number of ships that went out to sea to avoid being dashed against the piers if the tsunami should come. It didn’t.
However, when I returned home and resumed writing romance novels, I decided to write a book with a tsunami. It was a small one and no one got killed, but it became an important plot point which almost kept my lovers from their HEA ending.
So I did some research, and, since my hero knew about tsunamis-- having lived in Japan--I wanted him to speak about them knowledgeably. I contacted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the nice lady on the phone assured me she would send the information I wanted. However, she warned me that some of it would be in Japanese, so she wrote captions in English above the column of dates and numbers of people killed.
The material arrived in a fat manila envelope (our tax dollars at work) and I found a thick set of pages stapled together containing columns with hand-written English words above them.
“Date” marked one column. “Oh, no, that couldn’t be a date; she must have made a mistake.” I kept turning pages and the number grew larger and larger. Yes, that was indeed a date. The Japanese had been recording data about tsunamis since the year 684.
I didn’t put that remarkable fact in my novel. I don’t even get to use it in cocktail party conversation very often.
How about you? While researching for a book, did you learn something that readers would be amazed to know?