I've been on a contest bonanza over here, that's for sure. This week-- no contest, just a normal post or two. And it's Meet an Author Monday again. Go here to join the fun and add your blog!
Ok, I'm trying to concentrate while my son is on the roof fixing our evaporative (swamp) cooler, and hoping he won't fall off. For those of you in humid climates who have never heard of such a thing, a swamp cooloer puts moisture back in the air of your house to cool the air. Unlike an air conditioner, which takes moisture out.
And that's as technical as I can get without interrupting their work to ask my husband and get it accurate for this blog post. Oh here he comes, I'll ask him! "Pulls air through wetted mats and blows it into the house." (Fast answer since he's busy, but still there you go..)
He knows how everything works and can explain it in an easy-to-understand way. Plus he has an amazing memory for trivia. This makes him #1 resource for information when I'm writing. "Honey, who was the president in 1981?" "Vice- president?" "Remember that winter when we lived in the Franklin Street house? How much was our electric bill?" "$800 for one month? Are you sure?" (Yes, because it was 3x higher than the house payment.) "How high will the winter wheat be in Colorado in May?"
I could go on and on with off the cuff questions he's answered for me. He's like a freak of nature. And if he doesn't know, there's always Google.
Recently I read him a chapter of my wip, and he remembered a couple details about a shared experience that were nuggets of gold. I quickly wrote them in. It wasn't just the extra information, it was that it so perfectly fit into the story.
Years ago, before I was married, and I had this dream of being a writer of books, I felt a lot of anxiety about how to get information. (This was before Google, Wikipedia, and the internet.) I couldn't travel like Ernest Hemingway because I was a shy college girl with no guts and no money. I used to look everything up in the Encyclopedia Britannica or the World Book Encyclopedia, but they never gave enough information. It would be interesting without answering my particular question.
Then I got married, had a houseful of children, wrote stories and gave up the idea of writing a book. No time or energy, and I never WENT anywhere worth writing about, I thought. Finally, with my youngest headed off to kindergarten (the one who is currently on the roof), I said, "Now I've got time and screw this, I'm not Ernest Hemingway, and I'll write about what I WANT to write about which is family life, and family relationships and stuff that happens in families and to families." I know plenty about that, and what I don't know, my helpful husband-- my resident expert-- fills in the rest.
Uh oh, there are some awful big banging noises coming through the ceiling as husband and son try to fix this cooler and make my afternoons less miserable in our 98 degree temperatures. Please don't fall...
Job done! Water running through the cooler, no one fell off the roof. Husband comes in and says, "That smell right there reminds me of my grandma. Reminds me of Avenal when I was seven years old." (His grandma lived in Avenal, a small town in central California, hot and dry, and they used these coolers in the summer.)
Who or what is your favorite method of consulting an expert? In the field learning by doing? Google? Or do you have a resident walking encycolpedia who lives in your house?