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