Immersing Myself in the Culture of My Creations

I’ve just finished up a new rough draft, and while I’m very happy about it, I’m also a little melancholy. You know that feeling you get when you finish reading a book and even though it finished well, you wish there was more? I’ve felt that way about a lot of books, most of which still inhabit my bookshelf somewhere. Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, Anne McCaffrey’s The Ship Who Sang (of course eventually there was more to this one!), Jane Austen’s Emma. The characters and stories of these books became like family to me while reading them, and I found it hard to let them go. That happens to me when I finish writing a story, too.

I think it’s partly because I immerse myself in the lives of my characters. For instance, this most recent book takes place on a scuppernong vineyard in Eastern North Carolina. Of course, I live in Eastern North Carolina, so that’s not much of a stretch. Plus, as part of my “research”, I’ve been drinking the wonderful scuppernong wines my state can boast of. However, to add a little complexity to my plot, I made the heroine part Greek. Of course, this precipitated a lot of reading about the Greek culture, Greek wines, Greek men (yes, that was necessary research!) and Greek cooking (lots of olives). I’ve always been fascinated by Greece, and now I’m totally in love with it. I even learned how to make pastichio, and even my kids enjoyed that!


So what’s next? I’m definitely going to miss my Greek research. I can’t imagine what could top pastichio, olives, and wine, but who knows where my next story will take me?