Friday, August 25, 2006

Oh the people you'll meet

I love being a writer. One of the greatest things about it is that you get to meet such fascinating people. As part of my NASCAR book research, I was invited to a media event where I got to ask all sorts of questions of NASCAR drivers in a very laid-back atmosphere. I have to say that the people I met at this event were exceedingly gracious and wonderful. Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Nextel Cup champion (with me over at the right), told me what it's like to sit behind a table with 200 fans waiting to meet you. Matt's PR guy gave me an insider's view of what a driver's PR person does, and how that person may or may not be his manager. Martin Truex, Jr.'s significant other Sherry Pollex told me what it's like to be the girlfriend of a driver, something my heroine in Hart's Victory is going to have to find out once she starts dating the heroine. Brendan Gaughan, #77 in the truck series, gave me a male/driver's perspective on dating. Many of the journalists there, especially Brandon Mudd, answered all my questons about what journalists do and what type of questions they ask. Normally no one worries about pictures, but as I also teach high school, I asked a few drivers if they'd mind a photo with me so that my students believed I actually spoke with them. :)

Each time I write a book, I get to enter a new world for a while. I get to meet some great people, people I normally would never come in contact with on and daily basis and people whom I certainly don't expect to remember me after we've talked. By immersing myself, though, for a little while in the magic of the moment, I get to learn and grow, and experience something new. Then, like Cinderella, I leave their world. Only I don't lose a shoe. Instead, I gain perspective so that I can then go home to create my own fictional world, immortalizing my characters and their story before I take myself somewhere else to start the process again.

Michele Dunaway
The Marriage Campaign
Harlequin American Romance--Aug. 06


Colleen Thompson said...

What fun, Michele! Learning how it would be to walk in others' shoes is one of the best parts of being a writer. Glad you enjoyed this particular stroll.

JoAnn Ross said...

What fun, Michele! While some of your students may feel the need to pretend to be too cool to be majorly impressed, I'll bet they are. And those pics are a big change from the typical teacher's vacation photos of Big Ben or the Acropolis.

I've always said that rather than follow the old rule about writing about what you know, it's so much more fun to write about what you'd like to know. I'm convinced a writer's enthusiasm for the subject will come through to the reader!

Nancy Herkness said...

Michelle, you are SO right about writing leading you to interesting people. I'm normally a pretty shy person but in the service of my craft I will ask anyone anything. My husband is always amazed by the transformation.

JoAnn, I love your writer's adage: write about what you'd LIKE to know. Would you mind if I adopted it? It's so perfect for what I do.

JoAnn Ross said...

Nancy -- Feel free. But I have to warn you, it makes things a tad more difficult when you start over again nearly ever book. You've no idea how many times -- especially when I'm still researching days from deadline -- I've wished my boredom tolerance wasn't so low, so I'd feel more comfortable repeating myself. :)

Michele Dunaway said...

fI was thrilled to meet Matt, who just won the Busch & the Nextel Cup races at Bristol this weekend (and he won at Michigan last weekend). He's now in the chase for sure.


Nancy Morse said...

Right on, JoAnn. I always felt that writing what you know can be very limiting. I haven't been to some of the places I've written about, nor have I worked at the professions of my characters. Research and imagination work wonders. If I wrote about only what I know, even I wouldn't want to read one of my books.