How much research went into The Showboat Affair and things you really wouldn't think would need researched, but did.
Set between Houston, Texas, and Branson, Missouri, The Showboat Affair depends on a sense of place for much of its impact as romantic suspense. Though I’ve lived in Houston and visited Branson, many of the details surrounding both locations needed to be revisited for accuracy.
First, I ordered used Houston travel guides from my favorite cyberstore, ABE Books. Though not entirely up-to-date, restaurants and other specific spots could be easily verified by visiting their ads and/or websites. I also checked their menus for authenticity.
Next, I pulled out the brochures I collected in Branson. However, having decided to use a hotel where I didn’t stay and only saw from a distance, describing its physical appearance and amenities depended on its website. Fortunately, the website provided ample information, including pictures.
On a map, I traced the route that Nick and Jean would have taken while returning to Houston from Branson and set the next ‘crisis’ in an actual town. However, I used a fictional hotel—it’s best not to use an actual place for a negative scene.
Going into the story, I recognized the need for thorough research for physical location. Along the way, I found the need to delve into police procedure, weapons, and a few legal issues, although I ended up taking some ‘literary license’ with all of those. Most of the time, I tried to stay as true-to-fact as possible, which entailed a great deal of research, but as long as something is not too off-the-wall, I’m good to read it in someone else’s story or write it in my own. That’s where a good editor comes in. If she ‘buys it’, it’s pretty certain that the reader will. Most of us read fiction for entertainment and escape.
Having a history background, I enjoy research, but it’s easy to get bogged down in details. I try to do my research after I’ve sketched out the story but before I really get started writing it. I can always check details along the way with just the click of a mouse. Sure beats those days when a good writing session had to be interrupted for a trip to the library or the bookstore!
Judy Nickles is a retired teacher who has spun stories since she could hold a #2 pencil. In elementary school, when storms threatened, the teacher would send her up to the front to tell a tale, taking the other children’s minds off the weather. After retiring four years ago, she got serious about getting published. The result was three novels with The Wild Rose Press: Where Is Papa’s Shining Star?, Finding Papa’s Shining Star, and The Showboat Affair (as Gwyneth Greer). Champagne Books just contracted The Face on Miss Fanny’s Wall, a historical romantic suspense, for release in 2012. In addition to writing, Judy enjoys traveling, doing genealogical research, and spending time with her granddaughters, Hanna and Aubrey.
Despite over thirty years in a faithless marriage to wealthy investment broker Rand Kingston, Jean is shocked when he asks for a divorce. Encouraged by her former housekeeper-turned-best-friend, she determines to rediscover herself as an independent woman and move on with her life. Nick Cameron, prominent attorney and long-time widower, would like to figure in her plans. The opposition of their adult children surprises them. Then, a series of chilling near misses makes them wonder who really is determined to keep them apart—and why.
The author will be giving away a copy of The Showboat Affair in any format (including print) chosen by winner, pink laser flip-top mirror with engraved info about book, and a $10 gift certificate to Bath and Body Works to one randomly chosen commenter on the tour. To increase your chances make sure you stop at each place on the tour!
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