Thank you for being with us today Kari.
All in the Name of Research…
Authors are “unique” people. Many of us are visual. I know I am. I do a lot of research on the Internet. You would be amazed at all you can discover without ever leaving your home. Yet at the same time, I need to see things and do things in order to really be able to describe a scene and do it justice.
In my early romance novels, I would have my critique partner Barbara Witek come over and we would act out many scenes. For DESTINY WEARS SPURS I needed to see what it was like to rope a calf and mount a horse. No, I don’t have a calf or a horse in my living room, so yes, we roped and mounted each other. Then we noticed the blinds were open. The poor people out for an evening walk or driving by had to wonder what in the world we were doing.
For PROJECT PRODUCE I needed to see what produce would work for a psychology project my character was conducting. She needed to research how the size of a man’s Mr. Winkie affected his personality. So yes, my CP and I found ourselves in the produce section of the grocery store fondling and sizing up the pickles, cucumbers, and zucchinis. The poor produce manager asked me, “Can I help you?” To which I studied the size of his hands and feet, then replied, “You probably could, but I seriously don’t think you would want to.” The look on his face was priceless.
For SLEEPING IN THE MIDDLE my character’s friends dragged her to an adult “toy” store. She had never been, and frankly, neither had I. So of course I dragged my CP with me to an adult toy store in the city where we lived. We sat in the car, trying to get up the nerve to go in, when people started walking out with items wrapped in newspaper. We ducked down and watched for a while, then chickened out and went home. That was one bit of research that wasn’t going to be “hands on”.
I moved on to mysteries, thank goodness When I needed to research what it was like to carry a gun, spy through someone’s back window, and investigate, I put on a black leather jacket, grabbed my son’s air soft gun, a fake knife, a walkie talkie, and a notebook. Then I set up my camera and took pictures of myself posing with weapons and peeping through the window. Until I saw my neighbor standing on his patio, looking at me like I was nuts. I totally forgot he and his wife are both cops. Needless to say, I had a lot of explaining to do that day. I get into enough trouble with my critique partner around, but I get into more when left on my own.
For my FORTUNE TELLER MYSTERIES, I’ve had my tea leaves read, my palm read, my past life read, gone to a psychic fair, used a weegie board, and sat through a séance. I bought tea leaves, a crystal ball, and tarot cards. After researching the process online, I became the psychic, and my poor CP became my “victim”. She’s had tea leaves stuck in her teeth while trying to sip the water, her eyes strained while trying to see something…anything…in a crystal ball I made her stare at for far too long, and a headache from trying to make sense of tarot cards. I even dragged her along to a book signing once to demonstrate the process, only to have a huge line of people waiting to meet the real psychic. We barely escaped with our lives when they found out I only play one in my books.
For KICKING THE HABIT my character goes through a self-defense class after getting attacked. So of course I dragged my CP along to my neighbor’s house for a class she was holding. My neighbor is the real deal and as tough as can be. In fact, she is the self-defense instructor I used in that book. My poor CP ended up spraining her arm. I think we were the only ones who actually threw each other on the matt. And later, we acted out fight scenes. I’m surprised no one called the cops that day. You would have thought we were killing each other.
To find out more about Kari and all of her books check out her website at http://www.karileetownsend.com