Sunday, August 16, 2009

Do I Write as an Excuse to Research?

This week's it's time to interview me!
What a great excuse to display the beautiful new cover for my romance, Flying Free, coming out next month from
Treble Heart Books.

So Amber, as a novelist and recovering librarian, how do you research your books?

Thanks, Amber, I'm glad you asked that question.

Once upon a time, when I was a young librarian, I believed everything could be found in books. Now it's tempting to believe everything is available online.

When I started writing Romancing Rebecca, I knew this paranormal was going to be funny and set in Sedona. What could be funnier than a woman who falls for two men in the same body? So, I created my hero as a channeler who has a problem with welcome and unwelcome entities taking over his body. Actually, the plot is kind of ordinary by Sedona standards where shop clerks miss work because they’re out on Bell Rock waiting for an alien space ship.

I’d been around a lot of psychics and spiritual types, but when asked if I had seen someone channel, I had to answer “No.” I did some Internet research, then headed to the Sedona Public Library to select a variety of books from their shelves on channeling, from the popular Seth books to some how-to-do-it guides. I sampled, read, and listened to audiotapes to obtain a feel for the channeler’s language.

The books and tapes were helpful, but I still felt I was writing from second hand knowledge. The Well Red Coyote, my favorite Sedona bookstore, has local author workshops. When Summer Bacon, a slight blond channeler, went into a deep trance and turned into a believable fat old man who died in 1922, I was impressed.

I signed up for her channeling workshop and watched Summer go into two more trances and heard her discuss how she became a channeler. Finally I purchased her book, This School Called Planet Earth, and a DVD entitled, “The Incredible 10 Year Anniversary Open Session.” The DVD was the best. I could replay ten historical entities entering her body in a short period and watch the physical changes. I felt like I was there and after seeing her go into trances I was certain the video wasn’t a fake. I was ready to write Romancing Rebecca.

This week as I finished checking the galley for my new novel Flying Free I listed some of the research topics I pursued writing this book.

Of course I used books and websites but also maps, air charts, and my personal favorite, field trips. Here's a sampling: Montezuma Castle, Monument Valley, flying lessons, hand massage, experimental airplanes, Ninety Nines, Bisbee AZ, airplane crash investigations, saging, meditation, Native American pottery, brownie recipes, fear of flying, spiritual centers, moviemaking, CAM corders, County property records, rodeos, animal cruelty, advertising agencies, Arizona artifact laws, Alaska, Alaskan Malamutes, and father daughter relations.

Maybe I do write as an excuse to research a wide variety of topics.

Thanks, Amber, for taking time from your busy schedule to visit WordShaping. Good Luck with your new release. I'm looking forward to reading Flying Free, again.

You're welcome, Amber, it was fun! And don't forget to visit our website.


  1. You're such a hoot, Amber! I want to live in Sedona!

  2. LOL
    Great interview!

    I know what you mean about the excuse to research. I've spent so much time researching all sorts of stuff for my novel. Sometimes the concrete result is just two lines. Brilliant or insane- time will tell. ;)

  3. I learned some of my favorite tid-bits of information because a character needed to know it.

    Like Amanda, I've sometimes researched for days for one or two lines but it's worth it and fun.

    Research was one of my favorite parts of teaching too.

    Thanks for the great post.

  4. Great blog. Thank god she loved them both!!

  5. Amber,

    Who would have thought of interviewing one's self, but you. lol Great job. I would love to live in Sedona, too.

  6. Sedona sounds like my kind of place. Way more exciting than my little NW town.

    Fun interview.


  7. The hardest part of interviewing yourself is finding a mutually convenient time. Since we're both so busy researching. :)

  8. I don't know how many times I find myself caught up research then I haven't written a single sentence for the story. lol

    Nice blog-- Love that you interviewed yourself.