Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Question of the Month: The Research Edition

This month, we asked the Super authors to share one one funny, odd, outrageous, or otherwise memorable fact or skill acquired while researching a book

Laura Drake: I know more about bulls than I ever expected to: raising them, their semen(breeding,) how/why they buck, even how to ride them (though I'm never testing out that knowledge!)  Research was for my "Sweet on a Cowboy" series, contemporary Westerns, set in the world of professional bull riding. The first, The Sweet Spot, released the end of May. The next, Nothing Sweeter, is out in January.

Pamela Hearon: While researching Victor Hugo for my Feb'14 release Moonlight in Paris, I learned that in his later years he went quite mad and took to carving furniture ... with his teeth!  Some of the furniture is on display at Maison #6, Place des Vosges :-) 

Anna Sugden: I had a blast researching my book, A Perfect Distraction, thanks to the help of my favourite hockey team – the New Jersey Devils – and the VP of Operations at the arena where they used to play. I even got to ride a Zamboni! The toughest part was meeting all those half-dressed players. I hope our readers appreciate how I suffered for their benefit J   Interesting fact I learned – hockey players use ranch dressing to flavor all the bland food they have to eat during the season! Apparently, a good ranch dressing can cure any cooking evil.

Karina Bliss: I'm a Kiwi (New Zealander) and through the editing process of my first book, Mr. Imperfect, my Canadian editor queried the colour of a cowpat which I'd described
as olive-green. It's brown, she said. Eventually we worked out that many North
American herds are barn-housed and grain-fed through winter while our cows (in
the North Island anyway) are outside year round and grass-fed, hence the green
tinge. Who knew? So if you're ever in NZ, stop by a paddock sometime and take a look. Not exactly up there with the seventh wonders but...  

Joan Kilby: For my May 2014 Superromance (title TBA) I've been researching the use of horses in treating trauma victims and mental health patients through the program here in Australia called Horses For Hope .  I grew up riding horses and I loved finding out all about this fascinating way that horses and humans can help each other.

Jennifer Lohmann: I learned to make quite a bit of Polish food for Reservations for Two, including pierogi. When my heroine, Tilly, talks about understuffing the dumplings being a "rookie mistake," I wrote that from experience! I understuffed my pierogi and they were flat little Frisbees instead of looking more like a bowler hat cut in half. After checking out a copy of Polish Heritage Cookery from my library, I finally bought a copy. I make the cucumber salad in here on a regular basis (and reference it in my upcoming book A Promise for the Baby).

Vicki Essex: I learned the importance of fact checking when, after an online book club chat for Back to the Good Fortune Diner, I discovered that chicken balls with sweet and sour sauce is not a staple of American-Chinese cuisine in the States, but one that is present on Canadian and U.K. Western-style Chinese menus. Oops.

Cathryn Parry:  I featured an anesthesiologist heroine in my July release, Out of His League. I don't have a medical background, so this required much research--research that I
didn't think I would ever use again. Well, I recently had to undergo an
unplanned medical procedure that required a stint in day surgery, and I was able
to use that research to question a few things that I was unsure about. It
helped me...and also gave the surgical team (all women) a fun conversation
topic...especially when they found out that the anesthesiologist heroine got a
hot pro baseball pitcher as her hero. :-)

Kris Fletcher: my fictional town of Comeback Cove, the setting for November's Now You See Me, is set along the St. Lawrence River in the Canadian Thousand Islands. When the river was being widened and deepened to create the St. Lawrence Seaway, ten small villages had to be flooded. Some buildings were moved. Others were demolished. Tombstones from cemeteries were removed and mounted in displays in memorial parks. Some features - sidewalks, roads, etc - can still be spotted underwater or at times when the water is very low.


Mary Preston said...

I had to laugh. My daughter works for a bus company. They transport a lot of horse semen. She says she knows more about the subject then is decent - or necessary.

Unknown said...

Vicki--Now I feel like I need to travel to Canada and have Western-style Chinese food just to see what else is different. Oh, and have you seen the magazine Lucky Peach (http://lky.ph/)? In their Chinatown issue they had photos of chow mein from around the world. It's pretty funny.

Cathryn Parry said...

This was a fun topic, Kris, thanks for coordinating! We should make it a regular feature. :-)

Kaelee said...

Thank you so much ladies for all the research you do. Also for all the great stories that result from that research.

I grew up in a small town in Alberta but I've seen a lot of cow patties. They do come in many colors but they all smell the same. If you step in a wet one they are very hard to clean off of your shoes.

Bear scat is very interesting as well as you can often see what the bear has been eating.

kris said...

Mary, LOL! Good thing your daughter has a great sense of humor :-)

Jennifer, chow mein from around the world? Love it!

Cathryn, oooh, that's a great idea!!

Kaelee, now I'm remembering when my kids had to dissect owl pellets in school. Those teachers earned EVERY penny ten times over.

Karina Bliss said...

Bear scat, owl pellets...what interesting lives you Northern hemispherers lead

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