February 27, 2012

Behind the Scene Moments ~ Snow Melts in Spring

As I continue writing Blades of Autumn, I thought it might be fun to offer a few Behind The Scene moments from my first book. For the next two months, I plan to share my research for Snow Melts in Spring, do a few character interviews, and even offer an inside look at some of my favorite scenes. I hope it will be fun--for you and for me!   


Let's Begin With Research - The Horse Injury and Dusty's Healing Process 


Every novelist must "jump" into their characters' skins, and that often means we must learn things we don't already know. How do we do this? The Internet is an invaluable tool, as is our local library or bookstore. Sometimes, though, our questions can't be answered and we have to go to our "source." Often that means interviewing someone by email, by phone, or in person. For an introvert writer who spends the majority of her time in front of a computer, this can be terrifying.

The opening scene from Snow Melts in Spring begins with a horse that is terribly injured in a vehicle accident. Right off, I needed to know technical terminology, but not only that, I had to create an accident scene that was accurate and believable, not just something that looked good on paper. I needed to injure Dusty--not kill him. Plus, the injury needed to be intense enough to cause dire concern . . . and yet allow healing within a 4-5 month time period. I'm not asking for much, right! 

To get it right, I contacted a handful of veterinarians, asked them a bunch of detailed questions all the way down to possible accident scenarios, which would create the type of injuries needed for the story. What type of vehicle hit the horse, where did it hit him, how fast was the car going, what vision impairments where involved, etc. Then came the care and treatment of the injured horse. 


This was not an easy process. We looked at past case scenarios, most of them resulting in putting the animals down. But there were a few instances where the horses lived, so we worked to build on those premises. Once I finished writing the horse scenes, I asked one of the veterinarians to read over the material to check for accuracy, wanting to cover all the bases. I even shadowed one small animal vet for a day in order to get a feel for what a "day in the life" might look like for my character who was also a vet.

Next time, I'll write about some other research involving football and the McCray ranch. 
Question for you: When you’re reading a book, do you notice the amount of research the author has done? If you are a writer, do you have any tips you’d like to share for getting research facts? 
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