Monday, May 30, 2016

Swept Away Tour - guest post by Elizabeth Seckman

I'm excited to have the amazing Elizabeth Seckman on my blog today. I see some nerdiness coming up! I'm super excited. Take it away, Elizabeth!

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Hi Christine!  Thanks for having me over.

I know you like geeky things, so I thought I'd come and share my favorite tips for researching for fiction.

Have fun. Einstein can't be wrong. I enjoy museums, documentaries, and non-fiction books. By indulging in that sort of fun, I am not only working, I am becoming the one very wicked Trivial Pursuit competitor.

Talk to people. People are so full of stories and little-known facts. And all you need to do is ask and listen. My novel,  Past Due, is set in 1999, right after the Cape Hatteras lighthouse's historic move inland. I found all the boring facts on the net- things like distance traveled, who did it...yada, yada...All the stuff that would probably make a reader's eyes cross. The best information, I got from islanders. You'd be amazed how many people are eager to put in their two cents when they know you're researching for a book.

Watch people.  We all know this one, right? Watch how people they respond to situations...your world is full of amazing characters. You just need to take what they're doing and turn it into words.

Read memoirs and diaries. In writing Bella's Point, a historical novel set after the American Civil War, I read diaries from that era. It helped get my brain in that time period. Now, I know not everything is historically accurate in that story, but I like to think the flavor is palatable.

Use the net to your advantage. The world is at your finger tips. You can search pictures and facts- heck, you can even find people to chat with who are in the situations and places you are writing about. In Swept Away, Tucker is a former Marine. As a Marine, he should have picked up a certain amount of military lingo. I've never been in the military, so I went to Facebook (and my big brother who is former Army) and asked people who have served...what would you call this and that? Facebook is a great place for input. In writing Defying Reason, I wanted to know...if someone is arrested and put in jail, do they get to make phone calls home? I found out that all states have their own communication rules and at the time of the story, West Virginia did not allow calls to cell phone numbers. That tidbit worked perfectly into the Defying Reason plot.

Research after you write the story. For the minute details, research what needs filled in after the story is done. You want details to be accurate, but at the same time, you want those facts to be part  of the landscape of the story, not the highlights. Fiction isn't meant to read like an encyclopedia of facts, and I think sometimes, when we get excited about all the research we've dug up, we can dump it all in and bog a story down. So, finish the story, then during the edit stage, find the facts that support or compliment your tale. 

He came looking for a ghost. Instead, he found a girl. 

Tucker Boone is a war-hardened Marine on a ghost hunt. Fresh out of the corps, Tucker learns he has a missing half-sister, Maddy. The only clue to her whereabouts is a cryptic note…I’ve gone Mad, Mags. Tucker agrees to search for her and heads to Ocracoke, North Carolina where a ghost named Mad Mags is said to haunt the ancient graveyards dotting the island. 

The note doesn’t bring him any closer to finding Maddy, but it does offer him a diversion to the doldrums of civilian life— his new island neighbor, Josie McCoy. Tucker is drawn to her quiet spirit. There’s something special about Josie…a connection he can’t quite explain. 

By summer’s end, he’s mixed up in deception, murder, and the love of a lifetime. Logic tells him to head home and forget the truths he found on the island. But can he walk away? Josie offers him more than love; she offers him hope. When the clues pile up and it looks like she can never be the girl for him, he has to make a choice- play it safe and break her heart, or risk everything for a chance at being swept away.

Elizabeth is a multi-published author and family laundry wench.  She is the mother of four boys, who are quickly all becoming men! Her life is filled with stinky size-twelve shoes and beard clippings in the sink. Is it any wonder she enjoys days spent writing women's fiction of stories of romance and happily ever after? 


  1. Hi Christine and Elizabeth - yes ... have fun while we write ... and get the basics right, in-fill as you've done with some ideas of the time ... reading the diaries in hand-writing ... a challenge - unless they'd been typed up - which many probably had ...

    Good tips ... with thoughts this Memorial Day .. cheers Hilary

  2. Congrats on the release. What an intriguing premise. Sounds like a eye gluing read. Great tips.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  3. That's a great tip about research after the fact. Especially since stopping to research can slow down your momentum. If you can give yourself permission to refine the facts afterward, you can keep going.

  4. Hi Christine, Hi Elizabeth! I do love research. I've reached the point where, unless I can't move forward without doing research, I put in a marker or write on a certain assumption, then research after. Otherwise, I get too lost in it. (If I could afford to be a permanent student, I probably would be.) Unless, of course, it was an interesting tidbit that gave me the story idea, and therefore has been explored ahead of time.

  5. Thanks to everyone for visiting! I loved this post from Elizabeth, and I can't wait to read her newest book. :)

  6. I am definitely a people watcher. I love sitting in public and looking around, and eavesdropping. :) Always eavesdropping.

    Congrats Elizabeth!!!!

  7. Great advice. I especially like the diary reading. A definite way to walk in someone's shoes. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  8. So many great tips! I really like the one about reading memoirs and diaries. This is something I'll definitely need to look into for some of my projects!

  9. Hey Christine and Elizabeth,

    Your tips are as Penny would say, "pawfect!" I really relate to what you've noted, Elizabeth. People watching is a must. Nothing like a bit of observation. All the very best with "Swept Away."

    Gary :)


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