Monday, September 2, 2013

If I write what I know, I must know a lot of perverts

I was typing away last Monday night when I realized I needed to do some research.

"Hey, Honey?" I called to my gentleman friend.

"Yeah?" he hollered back from his station at the kitchen sink, where he was dutifully unstopping the garbage disposal.

"Can I borrow you a minute?"

"What for?"

"Well," I called, glancing back at the scene in my manuscript. "If I came up behind you braless and topless wearing high-heeled shoes, I need to know where my boobs would come into contact with your back. I'd also like you to describe the sensation."

There was a brief pause. Then he appeared in the office with  dishtowel slung over his shoulder and a big grin on his face. "I'm really glad you write romance and not science fiction."

I posted an abbreviated version of the conversation on Facebook, soliciting a few chuckles from readers. One person remarked that the research was only valid if my hero and heroine were precisely the same height as my gentleman friend and myself.

"There's a reason I've never written a particularly tall heroine," I replied.

Surprisingly, this was the first time it had dawned on me. Every heroine I've ever written has been a bit on the shrimpy side. I'm five-foot-three-and-a-half (don't you dare try to take away that half inch). My heroines have all ranged in height between five feet and five-five. Since there's a law that says you'll be thrown in prison if you write a hero who's under six feet tall, this works out fine with my six-one gentleman friend.

Clearly, I haven't strayed  far from the old adage to "write what you know."

I've been thinking about this a lot since the release of last week. One of the most common questions I'm getting from readers is whether standup paddle yoga is a real thing. I'm not sure why it never occurred to me that people would think I'd made up the sport, but I never considered that when I set out to write a heroine who teaches yoga on a standup paddleboard. It was just the quintessential activity to represent the uber-fit, uber-outdoorsy vibe in Bend, Oregon (the setting of the story, and not-so-coincidentally, the town where I've lived for 16 years and where I work part-time as the PR & Communications Manager for the tourism bureau).

So for those who are wondering, yes, it's real. And yes, I've done it. If you've never tried standup paddleboarding, it's actually much more stable than you think it would be. That photo there of me in wheel pose on the Deschutes River? That was only my second time on a paddleboard. It was my dog's first time, and she thought it was great fun to lick my face as the instructor (Kama, not to be confused with Eat, Play, Lust's heroine, Cami) offered suggestions for moving from one pose to another.

After that I probably went home and cooked either an elaborate gourmet meal, or tater tots. Or both. Also major elements of Eat, Play, Lust, in case you're wondering.

So, yeah, I guess I do tend to write what I know. For the record, I've never once fallen off a standup paddleboard. I suppose you could say I didn't fully research the scene in which Paul and Cami topple into the water together, but if it makes you feel any better, I can promise the other scenes were thoroughly researched.

Especially the one with the honey.


Mary @ BookSwarm said...

So impressed by that picture -- the backbend and the calm dog just a-hanging all on a paddleboard in a river. Wowzers.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

That's so cool that you can do yoga on that paddleboard; my dog is a big scaredy-cat (or scaredy-dog?) and wouldn't stay still on that board.

Deborah Blake said...

I love that picture :-)

And I clearly need to get me a gentleman friend. Purely for research purposes, you understand.

Skye said...

I am so impressed with your flexibility and balance! I have neither. Guess it's time to take up yoga. And that your dog will comfortable stand on that board in the water while you do those poses is amazing. She is one relaxed puppy!

I'm glad you have a research partner for these scenes. All for the case of realism, of course

thea said...

Bend, Oregon! You've done a terrific job. I've so much read of its delights - somehow must stem from you. Keep going on in Wheel Pose as it makes such a great graphic. Plus Dog, always gotta love yaself a doggie.