Research – What Came First, the Plot or the Vacation?
by Kate Carlisle
One of my manuscripts stuck on a shelf deep inside the bedroom closet, never to see the light of day, involves a heroine who must travel from her home in San Francisco to the West Coast of Scotland in order to unravel an ancient mystery. Along the way, of course, she meets a really cute Interpol agent and falls in love with him and settles in the Highlands.
It’s got everything — romance, mystery, a touch of paranormal, and location, location, location.
This is how I like to plot my booksâ€”and plan my vacations. My husband has learned to live with it. If I need to see Etruscan pottery at the British Museum, then heâ€™ll need to see the selection of bitters on tap at the Museum Tavern across the street. If Iâ€™ve got to pop into the London Transport Museum to look at carriages, Iâ€™ll find him later in one of the Covent Garden pubs, researching single malt scotch. It works for us.
My next book will involve a killing in a wine bar on the Ile St. Louis. Our intrepid heroine will track the killerâ€”and the wine shipmentâ€”all the way to Castellina in Chianti. Sheâ€™ll stay in a 17th century stone house overlooking the rolling hills and vineyards of Tuscany. Sheâ€™ll dine on wild boar and mushroom risotto served with a fine Brunello di Montalcino, and finally trap the killer in an ancient wine cellar. No bottles will be broken, no alcohol spilled, in the pursuit of justice.
Hey, itâ€™s my process!
What’s your process? What comes first? The plot or the charactersâ€”or the vacation plans?
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