Authors build worlds...
Sounds quite grand, doesn't it? And in a way, it is. Because no matter the genre, be it historical, paranormal, contemporary, whatever, when an author sits down to put a story on paper, a world gets created. A world that starts in the author's mind and ends in the reader's. And really great authors give us worlds rich with detail, dripping with delicious tidbits, rife with the fascinating minutia that makes their world, that specific world, just that much more compelling.
Now I don't claim to be a great author. But I am striving every gosh-darned day to become one. The problem? I hate research. (It's too much like studying, which I tended to avoid like the Bubonic Plague, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and a brain-eating mob of zombies all rolled into one.) So the question becomes, if I can't sit in front of my PC doing hours of investigation - and, by the way, I totally salute and am completely envious of those author who can - how the heck do I discover the rich details, the delicious tidbits, and the fascinating minutia needed to make my stories... ahem... pop?
And the answer? Well, I just need to live it.
So when a new romantic suspense series set in the Florida Keys blazed into my frontal lobe - don't worry, Black Knights Inc. fans, there's so much more motorcycles and mayhem to come - I knew I needed to pack my bags and head south. And after a few weeks of sand and sun, here are the things I've learned about the Keys that I never would have uncovered sitting in my office chair...
Number one: There are lizards EVERYWHERE!
|Fat brown lizard...|
|Slim gray lizard...|
|Fat brown lizard "doing it" with slim gray lizard...|
Number two: Scooters are the preferred mode of transportation. And no one looks cool riding one.
|Mr. Walker in all his scooter-riding glory!|
Number three: Float planes are an excellent way to island-hop. If you don't mind an occasional bumpy landing.
|Yes, that's me riding co-pilot. Everyone on-board survived. Barely.|
|Float plane parked on the beach at the Dry Tortugas.|
Number four: Every morning I'm awakened by the throaty call of one of these little bastards. Chickens are to Key West what pigeons are to Chicago.
|Coq au Vin, anyone? Anyone?|
Number five: Sunsets on the Keys are like snowflakes, each one is unique.
|Orange and yellow...|
|Pink and purple...|
|Blue and yellow...|
So, there you have it, folks. And now you'll have to tune in come 2015 to find out how all these little details arrive on the page in my brand-spanking-new series! Oh, I can't wait!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics, and prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. For more information, please visit www.julieannwalker.com or follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor, and Twitter, @JAWalkerAuthor.