Today we have Christi Barth here to talk to us a little about the research that goes into her books. Take it away, Christi!
With every new release, I make sure to do a blog post on my research. What, you ask? You write contemporary romance. What is there to research besides the newest style of Loubitons? Ha! I say to that. Sure, I don’t have to double check my vocabulary or modes of transport, but there’s still plenty to research (albeit mostly for comedic effect – I did half a page of bromantic riffing on how long a snail can sleep).
Small things – because real life has a way of intruding. My hero Zane, from book 2, got a job at Hobart College, so when I put him in official Hobart sweats (grey with bright orange), I had to go online to their student store and look up the school colors. I didn’t want to offend any proud alums! My heroine, Piper, runs a winery, so I had to locate a college with a viniculture and enology program (there aren’t many). And then find a famous sports college in bourbon country (okay, I just asked my husband for that one).
Annoying things that I thought were clever in book one and turned into a PITA by book 3. Ward has a quote-a-day calendar that while hysterically funny in book one became just a chore (sorry – whiny author!) to finagle into the story. ‘Cause you know what? There are a lot of quote out there.
Ward stuck his hands in his pockets and said, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start right away.”
“Another old chestnut from your quote-a-day calendar?”
“Nope. Closing scene of When Harry Met Sally.” He jerked a shoulder toward Ella, Casey and Piper. “These three watched it so often I couldn’t help but memorize it.”
Joel yanked at his black curls with a groan.“Every time you tell us a story like that, I want to force you to binge watch all ten Die Hard movies.”
“There aren’t ten.”
“There will be before Bruce Willis kicks it.”
I put Ward and Piper on a first date in a bowling alley. Classic small-town date, right? But it meant half an hour of scouring images on the internet of what the room would look like behind the alleys with the pinsetting machine.
“Aren’t you the king of the long shots? Let’s just hope for the best. We’re aware. We’re cautious. And more to the immediate point, we’re on a double date with two of our favorite people. It should be fun.”
One side of Ward’s mouth lifted beneath the dark hair. “Yeah.” He cocked his head, waited for yet another crash of pins before continuing. Then he spread his arms wide to encompass the whole smelly, metal parts–filled room. “This is us having fun.”
“Night’s still young,” Piper countered.
There was an entire night when I fell down the rabbit hole of researching where to get married in Las Vegas (not really a spoiler, at least not for the main couple!). Um…wow. The options are staggering. Mostly ridiculous. A few made me howl with laughter. Finding a spot that was actually classy for an elopement took waaaay longer than anticipated.
Then there’s the research not done from my desk. This entire series began with a vacation on Seneca Lake…and then a repeat, strictly research trip. My hero owns a distillery. Aw, shucks, that meant I had to tour and taste at the marvelous Finger Lakes Distillery. Out of my devotion to getting it right for my readers, I tasted their vodka and whiskey and liqueur and Bloody Mary mix. I then dragged myself over to the Heron Hill Vineyards tasting room to use that as a basis for Piper’s winery. I promise you, I cut no corners on getting all of that right down to the last sip!
I hope I’ve convinced you that even contemporary romance writers spend hour upon hour ferreting out interesting snippets and chasing down facts. But don’t worry….there’s lots of romance and sex, too!
Back To Us
Ward Cantrell always went for the long shot. But that recklessness cost him his college scholarship and his chance to play pro ball, and—worst of all—it ended his relationship with the girl next door. Neither the town nor the girl has ever forgiven him. Now he’s taking one last long shot by opening a boutique distillery on the family farm he inherited.
Piper Morrissey spent high school in Ward’s shadow, but she’s come into her own in the years since. Maintaining her spotless image, and that of her family’s winery, is priority number one. Nobody knows that she still yearns for her golden-boy ex. Or at least they didn’t—until Ward agrees to sell Piper the land she needs to start her precious port line. The caveat? She’ll need to date him for one month.
Ward hopes a month is all it’ll take to convince his former sweetheart that while he’s changed, his love for her hasn’t. But when the chance arises to thumb his nose at the town that turned its back on him, he can’t afford not to reject Piper’s offer. Will that make her reject him and his love—for good?
*Be sure to stop by later this week for MinnChica’s review of BACK TO US!