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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Research Humor

The other day I was chatting with a fellow author about the research we put into our books, and a rather funny story came to mind. As my day to blog approached, I thought I’d share this with all of you.

I’m pretty much a research fanatic. If it’s in a book of mine, no matter the genre, and it relates to history, you can almost bank it’s factual. To date, I think I’ve stretched factual truth once in a book. (That’s not to say I haven’t run free-reign with gaps in history or unverified fact.)

When I wrote Seduction’s Stakes, I’d never been to any of the places I used in the book. My experience with the east coast is one small part of Virginia and DC. So, as I looked for hotels that would suit my needs, I found the perfect one for Preakness Week – the Harbor Court Baltimore.

The web pictures were enough to give my creative side room to work with. They even had menus posted for their restaurants. But what I needed was a floor-plan to make my plot idea work. I had great fears that someone staying there would read the book and say “Hey, that’s not possible.”

So I emailed two persons, uncertain which one was the better contact, requesting some sort of floor plan or description, explained I was a romance author, and elaborated on my set up, in attempts to verify or disprove my mental picture. I specifically asked whether they had luxury suites that adjoined, or whether the corner suites were on top of each other, so they could be accessed by a back stair.

Two days passed, and both persons responded. I saw in my box a man’s name and a woman’s name, and cringed at seeing the man’s – I could picture him snickering. So I went for the lady’s response right off the bat.

I about fell out of my chair.

While she did send over a diagram, and the letter began in a very professional manner, evidently something cross-fired in her brain. The very last line of her letter was, “If your characters need any further information, they should book a stay with us.” What came after that, I don’t recall exactly, but it was a direct reference to a discrete rendezvous.

No, this woman wasn’t being facetious. She clearly believed I had fabricated some story and was making an inquiry for an affair.

To this day, I ask myself how many other people she might have indirectly insulted. Although admittedly, it’s more humorous to think how many people have claimed to be a romance writer just to conduct an affair.

On the other hand, the gentleman’s response was completely professional, more informative, and exceedingly polite. He got the thank you.

For a rather intimate view of the Harbor Court Baltimore, check out Seduction’s Stakes.

Never make a wager you can’t afford to lose...

A member of horse racing’s elite, Maddie McCleery’s got her eye on the Triple Crown and her heart set on her rival’s unraced colt. Owned by the one man she can’t conquer on the track, the same man who humiliated her in a youthful game of Truth or Dare, the colt promises sweet victory. When he refuses her purchase offer, and outruns her at the Kentucky Derby, Maddie sets out to seduce Riley into selling. In the process, she’s seduced, and agrees to a shocking bet. The odds aren’t in her favor, and she’s desperate for the win.

Riley Jennings wants Maddie almost more than the Triple Crown. In his bed, in his shower – wherever he can have her. For two years she’s eluded him and he’s refused her offer on his horse out of spite. Enraptured by her post-Derby game, he learns the lengths she’ll go to for his colt, and sees sure-fire victory. His proposed wager stacks the odds in his favor – if her horse wins the Preakness, he’ll accept her terms. If his horse comes in first, they’ll negotiate his way.

When the dust settles on the wire, will love claim final victory, or will unexpected tragedy stop them in the gates?

http://www.claireashgrove.com/

10 comments:

April Ash said...

Who knew doing research could prove so interesting? It's funny how the woman's response turned into a totally different direction, while the man's stayed on target!

Tina Donahue said...

LOL. Who would have thought you'd get that response, Claire?

Kenzie Michaels said...

That's hysterical!

I was doing some research on an eating disorder, and called an eating disorder clinic. It took the woman about ten minutes to determine I was not in denial about my 'disorder' and was honestly doing research for a book!

I've also spoken with male and female lawyers, and the women were NOT impressed with my author status. However, the men were, and were more eager to help me. Go figure!

So...when are your characters going to book a room for a tryst, Claire? Snicker!

And did you explain the fact there would be no revenue from their stay? OMG...'Barbie and Ken Mattel will occupy Suites 403 and 405...and how are they planning to pay? Oh, the Barbie Credit Card. And nutritional needs are what? Plastic food? I'm sorry; all of ours are organic...although, we can provide wax fruit...'

Sorry...sense of humor tripped into overdrive!

Renee Vincent said...

That was a great blurb for the book, Claire! I'm very intrigued.

And the story of the woman hinting at an affair was pretty humorous! I believe my mouth fell open on that one. haha

Claire Ashgrove said...

Hee yeah, I've run into a few doozies, but that was the best one by far. Like you, Kenize, I've also experienced that for the most part, men seem to take the author status more professionally than most of the women I've had to interview.

Next time, I think I'll share my experience with a fire department. Heh.

jean hart stewart said...

Great story. Do women just naturally have suspicious minds? Nah, I didn't really mean that, but it's Kinda funny this character did.
Jean

廖淑凡 said...

好的開始,就是成功的一半。 ............................................................

Katalina Leon said...

I love it! We see in others what we practice ourselves... That lady really gave herself away. lol That or else you did innocently pick a hotel that occupies some sort of Twilight Zone, sexually charged vortex that draws risk-takers and romance. It could happen! lol Might be a story there...
XXOO Kat

Paty Jager said...

Research is the most fun about writing a book I think!

Sounds like a good book!

Judith Leger said...

Wow, love the story about the hotel. Who would believe? Of course, makes you stop and think, hey, there has to be a lot of fooling around going on.

Love the blurb and cover of Seduction's Stakes.

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