Research and Reality
Every book I’ve written has had some type of research that goes into it. “This Second Chance” was no different. There were a few things I needed to double check before I was satisfied. One thing I wanted to quote properly was the history of the wooden roller coaster in Santa Cruz, CA. Now, I’ve stood in line and ridden it many times over the years. The thrill of slowly moving to the top and then the rush of the first drop might have rearranged some of those facts. What I remembered and what was the actual history were close, but my version was a bit off. The same with driving times. Now, I have made some of the drives I’m writing about, but the actual time, well, it may differ. I could have used the times it took driving from Pacifica to San Francisco—which I have done many times, but the airport was different. I hadn’t made the approach to the airport from that direction. Again, I was close, but a bit off in my guess. All those little details are important that I get them right, even in a fictional book.
In writing “This Second Chance” I spent more time than usual, finding the right names for the characters–especially the angel. The angel started out as Lucy, but I wanted a name that reflected her age. I found an angel’s name, Sonja—but it didn’t fit her. So, I kept looking until I came across Zelina—that was it. It’s a Greek name that means Zealous. That fit her! Then, there was the name for the misty creature. What was already out there wasn’t working. This was a time I had to create a name for a new being. The term evildwel came from the combination of dweller and evil. Mae, Rachael’s mother has a name that is close to me. She proudly carries that name to honor one of my grandmothers – it was her middle name. The angel’s name is pretty close to this grandmother’s first name, too. All you have to do is take out two letters and add one, that is! Characters know what their names are, and it’s up to me to find them. Sometimes, it takes a bit of detective work on my part.
Hawaii made another appearance on the island Maui – since I couldn’t think of a better place to go on a honeymoon. We were near Hawaii in the book, “An Unusual Island” and will be spending some time on Oahu and Maui in the soon to be released “Dolphin’s Cave”. It’s a place close to my heart and I’m happy to keep researching it for future books! It’s the least I can do!
Then comes the reality- in the midst of fiction – or spouses being abused by their better half. I have a dear friend, Liz, who I watched (and tried to help) in an abusive marriage. I stood by her, in frustration, as she always went back to her husband who promised to change—he didn’t. Finally, one day she left, and has created a good life for her and her children. She’s kindly allowed me to use my observations and weave them into a fictional tale.
This type of abuse happens more than it should in today’s modern society. Thankfully, there are groups and shelters ready to help when the time comes to leave. They were there for my friend when she and her kids escaped- with the clothes on their backs. The shelter: fed, clothed, and hid them – so they wouldn’t be found. I wanted to shed some light on this, and send out some hope that there is light after the darkness. There are places to go, and people waiting to help. Although this subject matter is too extensive to cover in a simple blog, know “This Second Chance” goes beyond the abuse–giving Rachael her chance at a happy ending. In this story, I made sure the abuser…well, I won’t give that part of the story away.
There will be no give away this week. I’m on vacation- celebrating my birthday. I will be checking in, though! So, please leave your comments below. I always look forward to hearing what you think!
Next week will be part three of “This Second Chance” blog series. I’ll be covering some background in the bumpy creative process of this story.
This month’s newsletter will be going out this week! I plan to debut the new book cover in it – so watch for it in your email if you are subscribed!
Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn