One of things that appeals to me most about writing is the research that goes into my books. If the setting is fictional, then I have the opportunity to dream up any kind of community I want, but that’s not the case if I’m writing about a city or town people know well. It then becomes very important to have your facts right.
The internet age has put writers at an advantage that our predecessors didn’t have. I often wonder how many hours an author had to spend in a library years ago as they searched for information about a place they wanted to include in their book but had no way of traveling there. Today a writer can sit in the comfort of his/ her bedroom and visit sites around the world. Technology has made the lives of writers better, but there is still no substitute for going on the road and visiting the places you want to write about.
If you've followed my romantic suspense Ocracoke Island Series, you know that Dangerous Reunion released in July 2011 and Shattered Identity released in February of this year. The third book Fatal Disclosure released the first of May. These three books came about because of a trip I took to Ocracoke Island, a barrier island twenty-five miles off the coast of North Carolina. The island served as the headquarters for Blackbeard the Pirate in the 18th century, and he met his death offshore there in 1718. The cover for Fatal Disclosure is a view of Teach’s Hole, the body of water where Blackbeard died.
The ferry ride to this thirteen-mile strip of land is two and a half hours, but it has become a favorite vacation spot for thousands of people. With its pristine beaches, its historic lighthouse that still operates, and a British cemetery that serves as the last resting place for British sailors whose ship was torpedoed by a German submarine off its shores during World War II, it became the perfect setting for my three books.
As I wrote the three books, I felt like I was back on the island. I remembered the sea gulls hanging around the marina as they waited for a scrap from the day’s fishing trips, I visualized families riding bicycles through the two lane street that winds through the only village on the island, and I felt the salt air breezes that made the sea oats wave on top of the sand dunes.
Now that the series is complete, my journey has come to an end. I’ve said goodbye to the fictional Michaels family who made the island their home, and I can only hope I’ve given enjoyment to readers who have followed the adventures I dreamed up while visiting a place that will always hold a special place in my heart.
Sandra Robbins is a multi-published author who lives with her husband in the small Tennessee college town where she grew up. At present she has eleven books published and six more contracted. Her books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Contest for excellence in mystery writing, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for romance, the Holt Medallion, and the ACFW Carol Award.