Friday, March 08, 2013

A Volcano Guy's Take On A Romance Novel

Closest LOLcat I could find to a volcano!
One of my favorite parts of writing a story is doing the research. My books are short (50-55K words), but I like knowing details about my hero and heroine's work, hobbies and life.

Sometimes the stuff I learn makes it into the story. Other times it's info for me to build their world in my head. Either way research is a big part of my writing process and where many scenes end up coming from.

I've been very fortunate to have lots of different people answer my questions. Mountain rescuers, climbers, computer guys, physicians, attorneys, firefighters, soldiers, soccer players and coaches. The list goes on.

One of my go to sources for help is a climbing forum I belong to. Sometimes I ask publicly for help. But when I was writing WINNING BACK HIS WIFE, I had a specific need...volcano sent a message to someone I didn't know, but who thought would be a good guy to approach. I was right!

John Scurlock is a pilot and an amazingly talented photographer. Click on his name if you want to see some gorgeous photos of the Cascades, Columbia Mountains and Canadian Rockies. He's also super nice. He not only answered questions and provided me with links and other great stuff, but he also introduced to Dave Tucker. Both are involved with Mount Baker Volcano Research Center (MBVRC).

John admitted he had reservations getting Dave involved, but I'm so happy he did. Dave helped me navigate my way through the unfamiliar world of volcanology.  I took Geology 1 at Stanford, but my biggest memory from that is standing on two plates of the San Andreas Fault during a field trip. I can see three volcanoes from where I live so I knew a little, but Dave told me some really cool stuff about volcano research, geologists/scientists and Mount Baker. He answered a ton of questions and more than one scene in my book resulted from our discussion/emails. Granted I take artistic license (I do write fiction) in books in spite of my research, but my hope is things are at least plausible.

I sent both John and Dave autographed copies of my book to thank them for their assistance. Yesterday, Dave emailed me a link to his "review" of my novel. I'll be honest. I don't normally read reviews except for the ones from RT Book Reviews (or if a someone I trust tells me I should read something), but I did read Dave's and had a good laugh. Here's the caption underneath the book cover.
Volunteer to help MBVRC carry loads to the crater! They really should be wearing MBVRC t-shirts, though. Her shoes are perfect for field work at the crater, but I don’t know about fitting crampons. But, that guy…he CAN’T be a geologist, no facial hair. Hey! Wait! That’s Mount Hood!
Yeah, crampons might not work too well with those shoes. Given her injuries I was wondering how my heroine Sarah was walking around in them myself until I realized there was a reason she was in my hero Cullen's arms. But in the cover artist's defense, the majority of the story does take place in Hood Hamlet on Mount Hood.

If you have a few minutes, check out Dave's review at the MBVRC blog (click here). It's worth a read. Whether you're a fan of romance novels or not, you'll probably end up smiling. Maybe even laughing!

Oh, and MBVRC would love to find a donor like MBVI has in my book. If you can't afford to mysteriously and anonymously support the entire center single-handedly, smaller donations would be just fine. If you'd like to make a tax deductible contribution, here's the link.