Research and Reality
My fiction research is limited compared to when I wrote my historical fiction book, Elizabeth’s War. I used my travels to Hawaii for a background in Dolphin’s Cave, along with This Second Chance and An Unusual Island.
There were a few things I had to look up. The correct time was one since I didn’t realize Hawaii doesn’t do daylight savings time, and my timeline would have been an hour off if I hadn’t caught that. What time was the sunset in December was another detail I had to make sure of to fit into the story.
Since the family was traveling during the holidays, I wanted to describe how the airports decorated accurately. Reno Airport was the quickest to respond to my inquiry and even sent pictures. Honolulu international airport shared with me details of how they decorated the luggage pickup area. Maui’s airport had fewer pointers because they do it differently each year, which is vaguer in my descriptions.
I am always thankful when people take time out to help with details when my characters take a trip to actual places.
On Oahu, I had to research the mall where the Pennys and Coral went shopping. I found pictures of how they decorated for the holidays and included that. I also had to investigate how the hotels and residents of the island celebrated the holiday. Of course, Santa would know how to ride a surfboard 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 many years since I’ve seen Pearl Harbor, so I wanted to see what had changed. The security is something I don’t remember from my honeymoon, but that’s not to say there wasn’t a lesser version of it then. I had to find a tour for my characters to take and what they’d see along the way. Driving from the airport needed a time frame, and I double-checked how long it takes in traffic to get to Waikiki Beach.
I’ve learned a lot about Sea Turtles and Dolphins over the years, but still rechecked what I put in Dolphin’s Cave.
When I have a retired General in my story, I want to be positive it was possible to move up the ranks in the time I gave him. My intention is to be as accurate as humanly possible when I mention something outside of fantasy.
Scuttle Valley is not an actual place in Nevada, but Reno certainly is. I live an hour and a half from Reno and have made several shopping trips to the mall Coral and Ruby went shopping in to prepare for their trip to Hawaii. I left the stores anonymous, but they are typical of all malls across the United States, which include holiday decorations, helpful employees, and Santa Claus. There isn’t a Dunning Corporation, either, but I based it off what I thought might be out there searching for that untapped magic to make a profit off of it.
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 we had to ourselves for a while on my honeymoon.
I have never seen an underwater cave to enter—yet. But Coral did, and she was rewarded with another place hidden from us, Air People.
This week there is a holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. It is a day I have much to be grateful for all I have been blessed with, including all my amazing writing friends I’ve made along the way.
Next week I will reshare the cover from Dolphin’s Cave and share a bit about it. This book has been a long time coming to this point of sharing.
Embrace your inner child with new knowledge! D. L. Finn
19 thoughts on “Book Research for Dolphin’s Cave. #NewRelease #ChildrensBook #YA #DophinsCave #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity”
Great research, Denise. Thanks for sharing your insights.
Thanks John 🙂
Some good research there, Denise. And it’s so lovely when folks are happy to help out. Best of luck with the writing 🙂
Thanks, Harmony. There were some that went above what I asked for. They are the best:)
Research can be fun and surprising! It also takes a lot of time to dive deep, which is what it sounds like you did. It all pays off in the story! Thank you for sharing, Denise!
I always enjoy research and I think you’re right it does pay off. Plus we get to learn new things which may bring new ideas. Thanks, Jan:)
Can’t wait. When will it be available for preorder?
Hi Sandra:) I’m not sure. I think beginning of December:) I should be getting it back in about a week and then I’ll get going on it. Finished NaNo today so can focus on new things:)
I know what you mean about the fiction research. I’ll usually figure out while editing that I might not know what I’m talking about and then DEAR–Drop Everything and Research–a hybrid of my teacherly Drop Everything and Read)
I do the same as you, drop everything and reasearch. I like the term DEAR, it does happen a lot in editing.
I use Google for everything research related, but think it’s a great idea to take it a step further and reach out, as you’ve done. I imagine they think it’s pretty cool, too- a writer contacting them for accuracy 🙂
The Reno Airport was very helpful and even sent pictures. I think they were excited to be asked, like you said:) When I orginally wrote this I didn’t do as much Google research as I do now. But fun to get a personal answer. Xo Thank you.
I love this description of your research, Denise. I completely agree with you that accuracy is important, even in fantasy. You never want the reader to be knocked out of the story by an inaccuracy that could have been easily corrected with a little research. I’d love to do my Hawaiian research in person! Lol.
I highly recommend personal Hawaiian research;) Yes it can easily put the reader out of the story if something is off, I agree!
Denise, I freely admit that I’m a research geek. Your new book is going to be wonderful! Hugs.
It is fun isn’t it? When I do time periods, I like love to know everyday stuff down to if they used toothpaste and what it was…lol Thanks, Teagan.
Aren’t timelines the pits? And when the sun rises and sets in which states. Ack!
It caught me off guard. I knew AZ didn’t change time but I didn’t know about Hawaii. Then I realized there were no direct flight where they left from so, had to fix that one…lol. I’m a fan of leaving the time alone!
A lovely post, Denise. I think all books require research, regardless of the setting and topic. I even had to do research for a book set in my own country in a city I lived in for a few years.