by Lynn Crandall
I began writing way back as a reporter for two local newspapers, first one than the other. I also wrote for commercial and trade publications, and did a bit of feature writing for a university radio station. Each of those types of writing offered ways of improving my writing skills. I would do my research and relied on expert sources to help me write articles that were based on facts and genuine personal experiences. Not my experiences or my facts, those of my sources.
When I began writing fiction, other skills, such as being able to create relatable characters and build plots that were interesting as well as sustainable, were needed. But one that remained the same was my need for real-life sources. The best way for me to get first-hand information is by interviewing people, experts who know through their education and their personal experience what I need to know to create authenticity in my characterization, my plot, and settings. It’s part of my research, which I call feeding my story.
I recently employed a virtual assistant to help me out with locating a certain kind of person and interviewing the person for me. The VA was extremely effective and helpful. But I know I can’t rely on that second-hand info alone. Talking one on one with a source is amazingly effective. I always assure them they’re helping me with my writing but the book is not about them. While they answer questions, I get impressions about their work, their personality, and how their experiences have affected them. I could do an interview via email. A lot of people seem to feel they can fit in answering questions by keyboarding whenever they have a few free minutes. That’s fine. But I’ll miss a lot that is available spontaneously in a conversation. Things can loosen up and soon the two of us are enjoying interacting. It’s then I’ll get juicy stuff that can really enhance my story.
I’ve had the pleasure of talking to a large variety of people from different professions and different ways of living. The list includes a pilot, a drug research specialist, an athlete, a flavorist, an owner of an olive grove in Italy, a therapist, an empath, a psychic, an IT specialist, the owner of a start-up, a rape victim, and many more.
It’s very important to me that my writing be entertaining and inspiring. I want to provide details that allow readers to sink into the story and maybe expand their sense of themselves and the world. To do that I count on sound research, and often that comes in the form of interviews with expert sources. But I don’t take those sources lightly. Their willingness to open up to me is admirable. It is my respect for these individuals that prompted me to write the following author’s note in the final book in my Fierce Hearts series, Unstoppable. It is spoken from my heart.
I’m grateful to Crimson Romance for helping me bring the Fierce Hearts stories of the colony of were-lynxes to readers. The characters of the Fierce Hearts series have been a part of my life for a year and a half. Some characters were introduced in earlier books, Dancing with Detective Danger and Always and Forever Love, which were published in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In these stories, I wanted to explore other ways of being in family. I wanted characters who had strong inner conflicts, conflicts common among people but with the added twist of living lives of being radically different. But the books are not issue stories, they are people stories about finding their true selves by walking their way through their wounding and coming out changed and more whole.
Though the characters in the Fierce Hearts books work on their inner difficulties within the time context of the stories, I understand and want to acknowledge that healing problems related to abuse, betrayal, and rejection in real life requires effective work with a professional counselor and it takes time.
I hope to have the pleasure of interviewing many fine people in my quest to write good stories. And I will always be grateful for their willingness to share.