Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What I learned from The Werewolf Upstairs



Most authors have to do some type of research. I think of historical authors as the heavy-duty researchers, and those writing about contemporary time periods as less encumbered. According to some--not so. Apparently, contemporary facts are more often challenged than historical accuracy, so you'd better get it right.

I was contacted by a reader about a story I set in New Orleans where the heroine paid $1.75 for the cable car from Canal Street in the French Quarter to the Garden District. She let me know that my heroine got ripped off. Apparently the fare is only $1.25.

What's this have to do with Werewolves and apartment living? Well, I didn't have to research much in the way of Werewolves...or the apartment. I lived in the same neighborhood back in the day, and I've read my share of Werewolf stories, seen movies, and watched a documentary on how the whole myth started in France. But even so, I referred to a list of "pack rules" developed by another author. So that segment wasn't too hard for someone with imagination...but within the story of The Werewolf Upstairs, I included a real robbery that happened in Boston back in the nineties. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist was a high profile art museum robbery that hasn't been solved. The FBI is still offering five-million dollars for information leading to the arrest of the criminals.

I remember the sick feeling that invaded my stomach when I heard that the unique museum had been robbed. I spent many a day there back when I was an art student in need of a tranquil environment within the noisy city. There's no place like it that I know of. It's an actual home, open to the public.

Isabella was shunned by the Boston blue bloods not only for her Italian heritage, but because she didn't behave like the typical matron near the turn of the twentieth century. Her home was built in the Italian style of a square, enclosing a courtyard. She collected art from all over the world and graced her walls with it. Part of her "questionable lifestyle" had to do with having bohemian friends, such as artists and musicians. She hosted many concerts and art shows. Not only that, but she loved the Red Sox and built her home near Fenway Park rather than an upscale neighborhood like Beacon Hill. I think I would have liked her. I certainly admire her as do many Bostonians today.

She left her home to the people of the city, so everyone--rich and poor--could enjoy the arts. It's free, which is why even a poor student like me was able to wander the decorated halls and attend the occasional classical concert. My book shares her story and the details of the heist. I guess it's an homage to the lady who snubbed her nose at being snubbed.

I'm glad I needed to research this person, place and event to keep my story accurate. I learned a little more about the historic landmark and what makes it so important. It was a special place for my hero too. Even werewolves need a place to go where they can let go of their cares and think now and then.

I'll bet she'd have enjoyed my story. I hope you do too.

Ashlyn Chase

40 comments:

  1. Great post, Ashlyn! Congratulations on the book! Can't wait to read it!

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  2. This sounds like an awesome book. Great post!

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  3. Not only do I love werewolves but I was born in Boston so this books is a Top Read for me. Especially after the wonderful read, Strange Neighbors. You have such a deft comedic touch and the ability to make your characters fall out of the pages into the reader's home, that each and every book is a continuous pleasure to read.All I ask is that you keep these books coming. Okay, off to tell the world about it.

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  4. Bless you for your sweet words, Desiree! You have no idea (or maybe you do) how much that means to me!

    XOXOXOX

    Ash

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  5. Sounds like a terrific book and Isabella sounds like quite a woman. Perhaps your story will in some way help to solve the crime.

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  6. I would love for that to happen, Terry! At least it may renew interest in the case...especially since that 5 million is still being offered as a reward!

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  7. Congrats on your February Release Ashlyn!

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  8. Ashlyn,
    I enjoyed your blog this morning and certainly wish you continued writing success. May you sell a million copies.

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  9. Thanks guys,

    especially to Dr. Norm who wished me a million sales. I second that idea!

    Ash

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  10. Congrats on your new release - looks like a very fun read!

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  11. Congrats on the release! I love it when authors incorporate real people or events in books. Sounds fascinating!

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  12. Congrats, Ash. The story sounds great and I love how you've tied in a real life event.

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  13. So thrilled to hear about your new book, Ash. I can't wait to read it, especially after having read Strange Neighbors. Now I'm totally hooked. I second what Desiree said --keep 'em coming! Best wishes.

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  14. I think your story sounds fabulous, Ash! And I love the cover, too! It screams "Pick me up!" Which I'm sure many will do!
    Amelia

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  15. I can't imagine writing an author over a 50 cent difference lol. I did find the topic of research very interesting since I tend to usually be a historical reader but I have been branching off and have found paranormals quite fascinating.

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  16. Wonderful launch Ashlyn! Love the cover and the story. And I assume the werewolf upstairs is handsome, too. Does he wear cowboy boots?

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  17. Ash, congrats on your new release! Sounds like a wonderful read.

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  18. Congrats on your new release. And that museum sounds delightful. Hope they catch the culprits.

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  19. I found your post very interesting. What a shame the museum was robbed. First heard of your book when it was up for LASRs book of the week and was delighted that it won. Have put it on my list of books to be read.

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  20. Wonderful post, Ash. Congrats on launching The Werewolf Upstairs!

    Having researched both historical and now contemporary romances, I can say for me the contemporary is much harder to do. The past is documented, but keeping up with current technology...that's tough for me. ;)

    Adding TWU to my TBR pile!! Can't wait to read it.

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  21. Wow! take 3 hours out for an on-line chat and 20 comments are here when I get back! I guess that's the cyber equivalent of not watching the kettle boil.

    And LOL Carolyn...yes, Konrad is cute, but no one in Boston wears cowboy boots.

    Hugs to all of you wo put TWU on your TBR pile!

    Ash

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  22. congrats on the new book it sounds fab :)
    meandi09@yahoo.com

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  23. Then I'll just have to imagine those boots on him when I read about him! LOL. BTW, LOVE the name Konrad! Sounds sexy!

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  24. WOW !!! This sounds like a Winner to me, I Love Werewolfs and this right up my alley,Congrats onthe new release. Hope it does Wonderful for ya. Cant wait to get it. a Most read for sure. Cathy

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  25. Hey Cathy! Long time...
    I hope you enjoy the book.

    Ash

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  26. Hey Ash, this is what makes an author great, which you are. Love everything you put into your craft, thank you and congrats on the new release :)

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  27. This was a fantastic follow up to Strange Neighbors. I love this world you have created and I look forward to visiting it again-soon!!! (Hint-next story please!!)

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  28. Hi Ash,
    Love the cover and the post. Congrats on your launch and may you have a dozen more very soon!
    Dee Brice
    Erotic Fantasies Where Nothing is Forbidden

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  29. I've heard any number of stories about the museum at the Madam's, including the theft. One that I enjoyed is that she arranged the museum the way that she wanted it and specified in her will that nothing could be moved or removed. Thus, the empty frames still hanging on the walls.

    I'm still waiting, too. The werewolf might be upstairs, but he's still not at my local bookstore.

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  30. I think I know why your local bookstore doesn't have it, Viginia--and I guess this is good news for sales--my friend who owns a bookstore couldn't get it because it's backordered by 1,500 copies from Ingrams!

    Ash

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  31. Hey Ash...wonderful post! Interesting story and yes I do think Isabella would love to read your story. I mean, what's not to like? Your books are wonderful and you know I am one of your biggest fans.

    Wishing you millions of sales worldwide (Yes I agree with DR. NORM!) ...you already have the great reviews!

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  32. Thank you to everyone for coming and making my day special!

    Stay warm and safe if you're being hit with snow like we are in New England.

    Curl up with a good book!

    Hugs

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  33. The story concept sounds interesting and I think your cover is really fun. How coll you were able to incorporate a real heist into the story - I love combining fact and fiction!

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  34. Something I love about The Werewolf Upstairs is that your heroine isn't a size 2. (Not that there's anything wrong with size 2, but statistically American women are more likely to wear 14's.) And not only does your hero love her curves, she learns to love them too.

    Congrats on the release of a terrific book!

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  35. Cool post! I love that you used a real robbery. Can't wait to read this one.

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  36. This book sounds good and hope to visit at noon and add a comment or two. susan Leech garysue@dejazzd.com

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  37. Wonderful post, Ash! Research often adds a richer element to an author's work. Bravo!

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  38. This sounds like a great read and i would love to read it.

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  39. What an interesting post. Can't wait to check this book out.

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  40. Enjoyed the post!! This looks like another great read!!

    I really enjoyed reading Strange Neighbors.


    Judy
    magnolias_1[at]msn[dot]com

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