One of the first things a would-be-author is told is to “write what you know.” I would like to go on record as saying that’s ridiculous.
Don’t misunderstand me. There are some things an author must know. For instance, I find it very difficult to write from a man’s perspective. I’m not a man. I doubt I ever will be. I find it much easier to write from a woman’s perspective since that’s the one I’m the most familiar with. It’s how I think, therefore easier for me to write.
In Ghost Mountain, I try to describe Devils Tower in a way that the monolith comes to life for people who have never seen it. That required some research and a few trips to Hulett, Wyoming. The victim in the book is shot and I try to describe the smell and the sound, even the feel of pulling the trigger.
I’ve never actually shot the type of weapon described, however. I’ve also never used a plastic bottle as a silencer. By asking questions of people in law enforcement and people who know a lot more about handguns than I do. They say it can work. I believe them.
I’ve never had a murderer call me up, so I don’t know what kind of fear that would inspire. But I can imagine.
And that’s where the fun part happens. In my mundane existence, I’m an empty-nester who is trying to adjust to my baby growing up and heading to college. I’m a web designer who works out of my home in the country. There’s not much excitement in my day-to-day world. If I only wrote about what I knew, there wouldn’t be much there.
So my advice to anyone trying to write is this: Write what you’re comfortable with and research the rest. What you can’t research, make convincing within the world you’ve created. You’ll have a great story.