When a reader delves into one of my books I want her (or him) to feel like they are really in the middle of the action. I want the smells and sounds to transport the reader to another place. I don’t want to just describe the sights, I want my reader to see them. Authenticity.
As a journalist, my “other” writing persona, I am used to doing research – I even enjoy it. I’ve had several opportunities to research story lines for my books. When I wrote His Lucky Charm (previously Forgotten), I researched locations, including one I never visited personally – I had one reader tell me she remembered the hotel I described!. After Katrina I listened to stories from rescue workers and created my character, Deanna, a girl from Baton Rouge, Louisiana for my novel Hostage Heart. I had an advantage when I wrote Within the Law since most of the action takes place in a town I’ve vacationed in a few times, but I researched more so I could sound like a native.
When I wrote Final Sin, I used extensive inside knowledge of the workings of ambulance response and the EMS system. Since I’m a NYS EMT and have an EMS family, coming up with medical cases, terminology and realism wasn’t hard. I’ve had friends in law enforcement so I really only brushed up on some of the finer points. Fortunately I admit that I don’t think like a serial killer, so I had to research that psychology. Some of the things I read about actually scared me.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far in researching material for my novels was for Hyphema. Matt Garratti, a character first born in Final Sin, becomes a flight medic and moves his family to North Carolina. A flight medic is an extension of EMS and I was able to speak to friends who have done it. I’ve spent time in North Carolina so that only took a quick review to refresh my memories.
Matt’s wife Sudah is a Pakistani born Muslim woman. I write contemporary stories so of course I included the prejudice, emotions and complications of a post-9/11 world. I needed to research “a peoplein order to portray someone without preconceived notions. I actually read excerpts of the Quran, I read news reports and descriptions of Pakistan. I spoke with a friend whose family comes from Pakistan and practices the Muslim faith.
It isn’t the finite details that make something real, it’s the hint, the “seasoning” – some research, throw in a few dishes, a few words. It’s sleight of hand… and it’s now real.
Chelle has come a long way since first joining the Vanilla Heart Publishing queue of authors nearly two years ago with her first novel, Bartlett’s Rule. Now with nine novels on the market, she has solidified her standing as a Romantic Suspense author (7 romantic suspense & 2 mysteries.) She also has short stories in the VHP anthology With Arms Wide Open, Mandimam’s Press anthology Forever Friends, the VHP anthology Nature’s Gifts, VHP anthology Passionate Hearts and Mandimam Press anthology Forever Travels.
Bartlett’s Rule was named one of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top Ten Reads for 2009; Final Sin was a 2009 Pushcart Nominee; and Hostage Heart, Final Sin and A Chaunce of Riches were nominated in the 2009 Preditors’ and Readers’ poll and had top-ten finishes. Chelle Cordero was recently featured as one of the authors in “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” published by The Author’s Show in 2010.