I took an entire week off!
Well, sorta. The second week of July, I stepped away from my computer and got in the car with my friends Arwen and Allyn and took off for Salt Lake City. We try to make the pilgrimage to the Family History Library every year or so to immerse ourselves in microfilm and books researching our genealogies. I love genealogy, but I love the week away from writing even more. For five glorious days, I tune out the people in my head and focus on the people of the past.
Well, sorta. The problem is that I’ve used some of the surnames in my husband’s genealogy for my characters. Digging through historical records in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, I was seeking information about Samuel Lawton in the early 1800s. My goal is to prove that Samuel is the son of Joseph Lawton. Sometimes, genealogy is a lot like fishing with hand grenades. You have to take the broad approach. If you can’t find the records you need for your particular guy, you look at the records for all the men who could potentially be his brother or his father and hope you can tie the family together. I did not find what I was looking for with Samuel; however, I was very excited to spot a record for a William Lawton. This is a familiar name in the right place and I was like a hound after the fox. I compiled the names and the records, scanning the documents that I would need to prove that William was indeed one of my husband’s Lawton family members.
Two hours later, I realized the name was familiar because Will Lawton is a character in Blood Link. I’d been chasing… a back story. After that, I went down to the basement where they keep the records for Great Britain and worked on my family lines. I haven’t used any of those names yet for characters. I happily ignored everything to do with writing for the rest of the trip.
Well, sorta. Arwen and I generally spend part of the long ride brainstorming a book. I provide a basic premise and we talk through scenarios. Several years ago, we discussed several of the events in A Shared Fear, and thanks to that conversation, I knew why a contract had been taken out on my hero. On this trip, I’d had an idea on the ride to Salt Lake City and it had been simmering on the back burner all week. So, on the ride home, I provided the premise and we tossed around ideas for my characters. The specific items we discuss rarely make it into a book, but they help me with the back story and motivation. Some of these sessions are also a lot like fishing with hand grenades.
I came home rejuvenated – ready to take on the next great task.
Well sorta. That rat Marcia had dropped the completed first round of edits for Saving Emily while I was gone…