Sunday, July 28, 2013

How far will I go to research a book?


How far will I go to research a book?

I’ve been to London and the village of Roydon, which dates back to the 16th century. That was fun because I have a daughter living in London and stayed with her for three weeks. I even called Scotland Yard. They were very courteous and gave me all the information I needed. I have found that if you tell an agency or an authority that you are a writer, they will tell you almost anything.

But my most recent trip was much more exciting. My oldest son and his wife live on a 49 foot sailboat. Yes — no land house — only the floating one.

When he told me about it, I thought it might be good research for a book. So I made two trips, one to the American Virgin Islands and later to the Caribbean. I must say it was a magnificent sight, a beautiful blue sailboat with a sixty foot mast reaching into the sky.

I stood on the dock staring at the space between me and the boat. It was only about a foot, but I’m not good at jumping onto a rocking this vessel.

My son said, “Mom, there are four hurdles you have to master.”

I gave him a disarming look. He hadn’t mentioned anything about hurdles.

“First, take my hand and put one foot on the deck.” His wife held the dock line taut. Okay, here goes, I thought. I didn’t look down because I never would’ve made it.

“Ready?” He asked. With a heave, he pulled me onto the vessel. “Now just put your leg over onto the bench.”

With three artificial joints, I just about managed to accomplish this feat and get down into the boat proper. “Do I have to do this every time I get on and off?”

“Yeah,” he said. “But you’ll get used to it. Now for hurdle number three.”

I had no idea what that might be and wasn’t too keen on finding out.

“To get down into the hold, you must climb down the companionway.” This consisted of a vertical ladder built into the ship with six stairs and secure handholds on each side. I manage that without a hitch.

“One more,” he said as he led me into the aft bedroom. “There is a 3 inch riser that separates each compartment of the boat. Don’t trip.” At that point I didn’t care why there was a 3 inch riser I just wanted to be safe.

After five days of island hopping, snorkeling, swimming in the ocean and battling a storm, I had all the research I needed. I had a list of wind speeds and barometer readings and what constitutes a strong wind, a squall, a near gale, a gale, up to a hurricane.

I was happy to leave the Caribbean with its 100% humidity and temperatures hovering around the 90° mark most of the time. It did take me a few days when I got home to get my land legs back. I kept feeling as if I were still on the boat.

At present, my sailor son and his wife are in French Polynesia. I have enough research for two books and prefer to remain on dry land.

                           Author at the helm, but only for the picture. www.helenosterman.com
 

 

4 comments:

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Wow! You are a brave woman. Sounds like they truly love to sail. I'm not a boat person, but I love to take photos of boats on the water. They are beautiful!

Mary Montague Sikes

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

How exciting! At one time I'd love an adventure like that--now I prefer dry land preferable flat.

Urdu Novels said...

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Jeanne Lowery Meeks said...

Such an adventurous woman! .... and it shows up in your books. Stay safe!