Research, and reality
My research for fiction is limited compared to when I wrote my historical fiction book, Elizabeth’s War, but there are still things that need to be researched.
The first thing that was brought to my attention was the time difference. I hadn’t realized that Hawaii didn’t do daylight savings time. I would have been off an hour if that hadn’t been caught. Then, I looked up when the sun set, since I’ve never been to Hawaii in December. With the family traveling at Christmas time, I had to make sure the airports decorated for the holidays. Reno Airport was the quickest to respond and even sent pictures! Honolulu International Airport gave me details of how they decorated the luggage pick-up area. The airport on Maui had less details to share, because they do it differently each year – so that is vaguer in my descriptions. I’m always thankful when people take time to help out with details so I can be as accurate as possible when my characters take a trip to very real places.
On Oahu, I had to research the mall the Penny’s and Coral went shopping at. I found a picture of how they decorated for the holidays. Next, I investigated how the hotels and residents of the island might celebrate Christmas. Of course, Santa would know how to ride a surf board when he made a stop on the Islands! Someday I will get to Hawaii during the holidays, but at least Coral and the Penny’s got to see it!
It’s been a lot of years since I’ve seen Pearl Harbor, so I needed to determine what had changed from 34 years ago. The security is something I don’t remember from my honeymoon (not to say it wasn’t there), but it is more intense now. Finding a tour for the family to go on was easy and the itinerary that went with it. Driving conditions have changed over the last three decades, and I applied that to the drive from the airport to Waikiki Beach.
I had to do some sea turtle and dolphin fact checking, along with how long does it take to become a general in the Air Force and other ranks. Lots of little details go into stories that the internet makes so much easier to research!
I use my actual experiences snorkeling and being a tourist in Hawaii. I swam at the black beach that shows up in two of my books. It was an amazing spot that newlyweds had to themselves for a bit on their honeymoon!
Scuttle Valley is not a real place in Nevada, but Reno certainly is. I live an hour and a half from Reno. I’ve made many trips to the mall that Coral and Ruby shopped to prepare for their trip to Hawaii. Of course, I left the stores anonymous, but they are typical to all malls across the United States in the music, sales, helpful employees and Santa Claus! There isn’t a Dunning Corporation, either, but I based it off what I thought might be a secret working place in the Nevada desert.
I’ve never been in an underwater cave – yet. But, Coral has and she was rewarded with a place hidden from what those water people call us- the air people.
Next week will be the poetry behind Dolphin’s Cave in part four of the blog series.
Updates on up coming releases: This Second Chance is still scheduled to be released in beginning of September! Dolphin’s Cave…stay tuned.
Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn