No, that is not a photo of me. And this week, instead of being at RWA, I'm doing race-related research for my upcoming book, Hart's Victory.
The photo above is of my daughter inside Carl Edwards' race shop at Roush Racing. Carl is Alison's favorite driver, and this weekend, instead of being at the RITA/Golden Heart celebration during RWA's Atlanta conference, Alison and I will be at Gateway International Raceway watching the Busch series race.
Researching a book can take a person in all kinds of directions. I've learned so much about all kinds of things, from sexual harassment laws (Legally Tender) to construction (Sweeping the Bride Away) to the workings of St. Louis's major case squad (Capturing the Cop).
This summer research took me to Chicago, IL, Indianapolis, IN, and Concord, NC. We visited two speedways, two race shops, the outlet mall (ouch!), Col. Sanders's first restaurant and the Cumberland Gap National Park.
The thing that made the 2,200 mile round-trip drive really worth it was that I got to share the adventure with my 11 year old. She got to go on the insider tour with author Abby Gaines and me. Because I'm a writers, sometimes Alison is able to do things that other kids only dream of doing. I guess that makes up for having to microwave her own dinner once in a while when I'm writing.
I'm still somewhat bummed that I can't be in RWA hanging out with my friends. But honestly, not much. For by skipping it, I've gotten to hang out with my daughter and do some once-in-a-lifetime things. After all, Mom is my number one job, and that always has first priority.