Researching Heroes (Prize Alert!)
I enjoy writing about heroes, but sometimes it can be difficult writing about the world in which they evolve as heroes. Many times our hero’s occupation is can be difficult to write if we don’t do our research. In the past year, I’ve written a smoke jumper. That’s an entirely foreign world to me. Sure they jump out of airplanes to fight fires. But what do they take with them, who’s the boss, how do they work the fire? The questions are endless.
While in Atlanta in July, I toured Fire Station #4 with a group and learned about life inside a fire station, what the men have to deal with on a daily basis and the pecking order of rank. There were different types of trucks that are called out on different missions. When do they send out an engine? When do they send out a Fireman Rescue truck? Do they save kittens from trees (the answer is no).
Now, I’m writing a military hero and heroine who are part of a military special operations force. The heroine is a helicopter pilot. Talk about a lot to learn! She’s got all kinds of equipment she’s responsible for and the protocol of her job isn’t something I could guess. Thank goodness I have a friend who knows a little bit about it.
Half the fun of writing a book is doing the research into our protagonists’ lives. In my story in BESIEGED in HIGH OCTANE HEROES anthology, my protagonist is a soldier in an embassy raid. The situation is tense and the embassy is fictitious, so I had a little leeway in how I set it up.
Elle James (aka Myla Jackson) spent twenty years in South Central Texas, ranching horses, cattle, goats, ostriches and emus. A former IT professional, retired Army and Air Force Reservist, she’s proud to be writing full-time, penning intrigues and paranormal adventures that keep her readers on the edge of their seats or laughing out loud. Now, living in northwest Arkansas, she’s given up wrangling cattle and exotic birds to wrangle her muses, a malti-poo and a yorkie. When she’s not at her computer, she’s traveling, out snow skiing, boating, or riding her four-wheeler, dreaming up new stories.
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*******PRIZE ALERT *******
Do you like the details in the hero’s life? Leave a comment for a chance to win the following prize package:
24 thoughts on “Researching Heroes (Prize Alert!)”
It’s the details of their lives that helps us readers connect to them and the jobs they do. Thanks for the giveaway!
So true Susan. Isn’t it great when you can feel the heat of a fire or the fear of being shot at when you’re reading a story. I love the vicarious adrenaline rush when I get it in the comfort of my recliner!
The details are what makes the story believable for me. I want to understand why they do what they do and how.
I loved it when I visited the Fire Academy in Atlanta when the tour guide said they only pick Alpha men/women. They have to be risk takers.
The details are what enable me to connect with the hero. It makes the hero into a 3 deminsional character. It helps bring the story to life and engage the reader. I love watching the change in the characters lives, without the detail I would not be able to do that!
Thanks for the giveaway, looking forward to reading the this story!
I love reading all the details, but I must admit that since I tend to know very little about it myself, often authors can fudge the nitty-gritty and I would likely be none the wiser! Thanks for putting the time into getting everything right, Elle!
It’s the painstakingly researched details that turn good stories into great books. As a reader, I love finding myself totally caught up in something I could never experience in real life — at least not without risking life and limb!
As a fledgling romance writer, I have a question for you. When doing research, do you find that most people are receptive to your requests for information? I’m fleshing out some story ideas and need help with everything from police procedures to the workings of a rodeo. Where do you start when developing contacts and sources, etc.?
Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Most people are receptive. What you might run into is that like us, they’re busy as well. But people love to talk about what they are passionate about. Ask!
I love reading the details and about their past. It makes the story so much more interesting. It lets you get to the know the character better.
To me the details are interesting because it shows what goes on in that field. For example I don’t like when an author will just say that the hero works as a rodeo pick up man and its a dangerous field and leave it at that. Maybe I’m weird but I want to know why it’s dangerous and what he does to get ready for it and what he does in the ring.:)
I agree. It makes you more aware of him and what he’s thinking and feeling. It puts you in his “head”.
I have to say that since reading Smokin’ Hot Firemen I start giggling (and my hubby pokes me) whenever I see firemen in the local stores lately although I haven’t had the guts to ask to sit in their truck. I still have to get up the nerve to ask to see the pet oxygen masks that I helped supply for all of the local trucks!
Elf, you’re so bad… Go ahead, ask a fireman if you can sit in his truck…
I think the saying, “the devil is in the details” says it all. Stories that give me the details of the hero or heroine makes them real and even someone I would like to know and keep me engaged in the story. I think that’s why I read so many series, I get to check in on favorite reading friends while meeting new ones. 🙂
Thanks for making the stories so rich & fun to read and for the giveaway!
I know what you mean. Sometimes I finish a book and don’t want to leave those characters. They were such a part of my life.
YES I DO LIKE THE IDEAS. HEROES SHOULD BE HONOR AND THANK FOR THEIR HEROINE. THEY ARE AWESOME AND FEARLESS PEOPLE. I BOW TO THEM ALL!!!1
I like to have some details, it makes the hero/heroine more relateable to me. I don’t want my story to be so bogged down in them that it’s hard to stay interested in the story.
The hallmarks of a great story are attention to detail and relentless research. The daily routine of a vast number of professions are a mystery to me. If I’m reading a trusted author, I usually give them the benefit of the doubt. If my BS meter buries its needle in the red zone, I get ticked off. Yes, I actually hop on the web and research the topic in question. What can I say? I’m a sponge.
Thanks for the nifty giveaway.
Okay, you’re scaring me! No really. I love it when there is just enough detail to make it interesting without being bogged down in lingo.
It’s how an author fits the details together whether or not a reader likes the characters and the settings and even the plots..without details well you would just have an outline, not a great book.
My husband is a Vietnam Vet and my personal hero.
Ah, Rachelle, He truly is a hero… hugs!
Enjoyed reading the comments. I really respect the firemen and they truly are heroes. I like reading about them and the challenges they face.
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