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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Is Everything Research? - Trish Wylie

Seems to me that since I became a writer, everything has become research for me - in one form or another…

Used to be when I took a weekend away somewhere I did it just to – well – have a weekend away somewhere. But not anymore. Now I’m taking pictures of things around me with a view to using them in a story, I’m looking at places where imaginary characters could live or work, I’m seeing parks where they could have walked, cafes were they might have had coffee… And I’m seeing them there and wondering what they would say or do and what their lives are like.

But then I think I did that before I even became a writer.

Maybe that’s the thing with people who write – we don’t just look at a place and see that place. Or watch two people talk and just leave it at face value. Our imaginations are always on the go and we’re always curious about people; what they’re talking about, their lives, their problems, whether or not they're alone in the world. From time to time we may even eavesdrop to try and found out...

With friends on a night out (too many years ago for me to
confess to), we sometimes played a game where we would pick a couple in the crowd and build a whole life for them - we'd give them a profession and a name and a personality and we would talk when they talked – making up conversations for them (quite often with dumb accents and much hilarity) – and do you know what? I think that was writer training too.

So now, every place I visit become a research trip. I might never use a particular place or setting in the end, but if I ever need it I know it’s there , stored deep in my brain. Like when I visited Dublin recently for the book launch of fellow Irish Writer Abby Green’s first book. I mean, I’ve used Dublin as a setting dozens of times – but truth be told I’ve always shied away from finer details and exact place nam
es. All it took was a weekend refresher visit and it occurred to me that I was missing out on a lot by not adding that particular layer in.

So I put on my nice new trainers and took my Christmas Present camera and off I went a wandering. I found a house for my heroine to live in, a park for her to sit in, a busy shopping street near Trinity College where she could have worked. I took random pictures of the streets full of people that she might have seen every day, the local landmarks she would have walked past to get to work – I even took my camera and a pen and paper onto one of the open top bus tours so that I could take notes from the bus drivers hilarious running commentary…

And while I travelled back to my hotel on one of the City’s shiny new Tram’s (which give the place a lovely European City feel) I imagined that I was the heroine – I was breathing the air that she would breathe, seeing the people she would see and simply *being* in the city she would be in. Which made it all the more real to me, and I have to believe that can only be a good thing for my writing, right?

Maybe sometimes we do need to just leave the keyboard behind and walk out in the real world so that we can come back and create a more realistic imaginary world?

But what it does mean is that everything is now research for me….

I wonder if I’m the only one that thinks that way…?

H’s & K’s
Trish

Trish’s next release is a Modern Extra entitled Breathless! out in February:

Just one night would take her breath away!

Rory Flanaghan is every girl's dream: tall, toned and so, so sexy. On leave from his dangerous overseas job, he's helping out at the gym he owns. When writer Cara Sheehan starts one-to-one sessions with Rory, exercise takes on a whole new meaning. He leaves her with a sensual awareness she's never let herself feel before...

Rory can't understand why this beautiful, fiesty woman has a problem with her image, and he knows he can teach Cara what she's capable of... As things get really personal, Rory shows Cara that just one kiss, just one touch...just one night... will leave her breathless!

19 comments:

Jennifer Y. said...

I wouldn't mind taking a few of the "research" trips that you have!

ChristyJan said...

The research you constantly do must give you a wealth of information and ideas to draw from.

Donna Alward said...

LOL...I think we all do it to an extent. I mean heck, I even watch tv shows now with a mind to how they're structured, etc....and watch deleted scenes on the dvd to see what they've cut and why....truly sad. I'm working even when I'm not working.

Trish said...

Jennifer LOL !!! Yes, I know! Doing stuff like this is what I always dreamed of doing as a writer and I have several adventurous trips planned this year!!! CAN'T WAIT!!!

Christy - I hope so... I have to say, even writing about this trip has it fresh in my mind again... I can *hear* the sound the trams make, if that makes sense??? And I am very lucky in that I took eight months off at the start of my writing career and travelled to every county in Ireland so I have a fair idea of locations - many of which I have used - I even have a July Romance book out this year set on Valentia Island, a teeny place off the coast of Co. Kerry where I spent a week during that tour. Yes, I did get pics off the net, but having been there it made the story very *real* to me.

Donna - I DO THAT TOO!!! I think the deleted scenes is a great way of looking at pacing which helps with the editing process... in theory!

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, and can I say that is one hot kiss on that cover!

Trish said...

You most definitely can Jennifer!!! I can't begin to tell you online about the scenes to go with it ;)

Jennifer Y. said...

You definitely piqued my interest! ;o)

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, and it will be a while before "Breathless" hits the US, won't it?

liz said...

Wow, I agreed with jennifer there,thats one hot book cover.

And Trish it must be really nice to be able to travel to all these places, bring back little trinkets to remember the place by, meet and see how diff. people interact (even if they are within the same country), discover what food they prefer, hate, etc.

=) Liz

liz said...

Oops, sorry, forgot to ask if you (Trish) or anyone in the blog too have a favorite place they have been to? And why it is your favorite place?

Liz

Trish said...

Breathless is scheduled to go the States as a Promotional Presents - not quite sure of an exact dat yet but it may be as late as 2008 :( When I know I'll yell - fear not! Thhough if I recall its re-titled something like Master Of The Bedroom there... which, if I'm right, is a rather appropriate title ;0

I know my first one, White-Hot, hits the shelves August 7th as The Firefighter's Chosen Bride, cos its listed on Amazon...

Liz, yeah, the trips are great!!! And I'm currently planning one to Italy with my good friend Natasha Oakley - so BELIEVE ME I'll be back to blog about it if THAT happens!!!

And it's funny you should ask about favourite places! I've just had my website revamped and as part of the makeover now have stories behind the stories, a kinda insider view for each of the books on each excerpt page - and for Project: Parenthood I got to gush about the fact I had two of my absolute favourite locations in it - Dublin Zoo and Killarney, on the Ring of Kerry - where my characters took a Jaunting Car ride and kissed in the middle of a crowd...

Jennifer Y. said...

2008? Poor us! Oh well, I will be on the lookout for the other one though!

liz said...

Hey Trish,

I just stopped by your website to check the photos of your previous trips. For some reason the ones from New Zealand (esp. of the caves, pools and geysers)remind me of South America.

Especially of "Salto del Angel" aka "Angel Fall". If I am not wrong, I think it was suppose to be the largest waterfall in the world. I remember seeing pics of it somewhere, and I must say it looks beautiful (makes me wish to be able to go there and see it in person).

On the other hand, I am also hesitant to go there if I have a chance due the mosquito and other insects that must live in the region.

Liz

liz said...

Ok, I just saw the photos of your Australia trip, and they also remind me of South America, right down to the last pic (that of a black sky and windy palms)...

Hm...I think most of your pics also reminds me of South America right now because I wish that we have such nice weather here in IL. It is freezing cooold in here and not nice and warm and toasty as in the pics.


=) Liz

Michelle Willingham said...

I miss Ireland. Loved the pictures!

Trish said...

I think thats the beauty sometimes of looking at pics of different places - they mean different things to different people...

The same with books, no two people will ever come out of a book with the exact same meanings or interpretations in their minds - that's why its so great to be able to talk books from time to time!!! It's especially great as an author cos sometimes people will pick up on things in your writing that you hadn't realized you had done. They're just part of your own personality and therefore your *voice*. It must be tough not to put things in that reflect your personality...mmm...

And Michelle - the next time you visit Ireland you HAVE to come see me!!! We'll have some nice Bailey's coffees... YUM...

Kate Walker said...

Trish - our breakfast in Bewleys was very definitely research - all those writing topics we discussed - and other things! Wasn't Dublin wonderful?

I once tried to convince my accountant that for a novelist *life* - all of it was research and so an accountble expence but sadly he wasn't impressed, But research covers a fair variety of fun things as well as deadly serious

I have my own copy of Breathless waiting for me - I just have to write this book . . . ;- (
love
Kate

Jennifer Y. said...

How lucky Kate that you have Breathless, reading it sounds like a great reward for finishing your book...hmmm...read it or write your book...as a big fan of yours Kate, I must say write! :o)

Anne McAllister said...

Research is everywhere, Trish. But some of it -- like the Dublin bits -- are more fun than the others! Great post! Wish I'd be getting to see you in Ireland, but unless you get back to Dublin, it probably won't happen this time. Next time, though??? Hope so.