Today Writing Wranglers and Warriors
welcomes a new blogger,
novelist K.P. Gresham
Writing for me is both a compulsion and an exploration. I know, I know, they say “write what you know,” but I’d add another clause on that. Write what you know and/or what you’d like to research.
The best book prompt that I know of is “What if?” For example, what if my heroine wants to become a professional baseball player? (By the way, that is a cheap plug for my first novel, Three Days at Wrigley Field.) Even though I am an avid baseball fan, there’s no way I had enough baseball knowledge in my head to complete a novel on the subject. More important than knowing that Nolan Ryan pitched seven no-hitters in his career (a record known by thousands of fans), I needed to know how he pitched those no-hitters. To that end, I purchased Nolan Ryan’s video on how he pitched. That information is integral to making the book work. (Side note: I’m nuts about Nolan Ryan. When I lived in Houston, I’d drive an hour to his hometown of Alvin just to get my hair cut. I kept hoping on the off-chance I would see this super-human walking down the street.)
Research for me is one of the most fun parts of creating a fictional piece. For example, in my Pastor Matt Hayden Mystery Series, I do indeed write what I know. I grew up a PK–preacher’s kid (I prefer the term TO for theological offspring, but alas, that never caught on). I know a whole lot about what a preacher does, about how congregations work (or don’t work), about the ever-present pitfalls for even the most devoted. But I didn’t know anything about the Federal Witness Protection Program or how to own and run a sports bar. (I hope that’s a tease–what is my series all about??)
In the coming blogs, I’m going to talk about how and/or where I do my research. A writer may write in a bubble, but IMO they certainly can’t research in a bubble. She has to join groups, go to conferences, hit the bars J, and talk to experts in the field. (Hence why I had to hit the bar.) She has to get the facts right, or she risks losing the trust of the reader. Why is this important? A “This is bogus!” reaction from the reader means they’re slamming the book shut never to pick it up again, and, worst of all, telling others not to read it.
Research is necessary, but fun! I hope you’ll enjoy my escapades into research that I’ll share with you in coming blogs.
Photo of Nolan Ryan: This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Wahkeenah at EnglishWikipedia. Wahkeenah grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.
About K.P. Gresham
K.P. Gresham, author of the Pastor Matt Hayden Mystery series and Three Days at Wrigley Field, moved to Texas as quick as she could. Born Chicagoan, K.P. and her husband moved to Texas, fell in love with not shoveling snow and are 30+ year Lone Star State residents. She finds that her dual country citizenship, the Midwest and Texas, provide deep fodder for her award-winning novels. Her varied careers as a media librarian and technical director, middle school literature teacher and theatre playwright and director add humor and truth to her stories. A graduate of Houston’s Rice University Novels Writing Colloquium, K.P. now resides in Austin, Texas, where life with her tolerant but supportive husband and narcissistic Chichuhua is acceptably weird.