Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Author Spotlight - Researching Catch of the Day

Catch of the Day was a fun book to plot and write with the zany assemblage of townsfolk from Loon, Alabama that came along for the ride. But before I started writing out my story scenes for Catch of the Day, I spent quite a bit of time online doing research to get a flavor for the types of lakes one would find in Alabama as well as the type of fish habitat one would encounter in those lakes. I needed a just-right type of atmosphere, a little wild and a little crazy, for the Loon tournament.

First, I had to get the lake and the environmental conditions right. It wouldn't do to go to all that trouble with rods and reels and lures, only to have an Alabama reader email and say, "Hey, Loon Lake doesn't resemble any lake I ever saw in Alabama." I had to get close on water quality -- clear versus slightly turbid or even tannic -- and habitat, as in actual aquatic vegetation and the proper indigenous species. Or is the habitat supposed to be just boulders, tree trunks, and branches because the lake is an old reservoir?

Then I had to be sure I had the right fish species for both the habitat and for the tournament use [even though I may only mention fish species three times in the entire story, I had better get them right]. Plus, I had to tackle the tackle, so to speak. Find the appropriate lures, get the terminology, and make sure I applied those lures to the correct species of fish. No, our scaly friends are not all alike and each has food and habitat preferences, so the lures must correctly match up with the chosen fish and hiding spot.

And the biggest hurdle was to provide all that without making the story seem like it was bogged down with a lot of details. And even though I did all that research before I started writing, the more my survey partner talked about his professional tournaments, the more I knew I needed his help. So I started asking dozens of questions, and he, in turn, provided the technical background I required, teaching me basic tournament rules and procedures and eventually editing my final draft for fishing faux pas. I wanted plenty of fun and humor for my story and didn't want to bog down the plot and pacing with details. With my partner's helpful editing, we were able to keep our tournament details accurate -- but yet at a minimum -- which allowed the story to totally concentrate on the people and the plot and the romance.

The wildest part of the research came after the story was completely finished! I had a nice chase scene for a climax, but it didn't make me hold my breath as I wrote it, so I was a tad disappointed. Shortly after finishing the story and before my personal first round of edits, my survey partner returned from a tournament raving over the winning angler and how the man managed to jump a beaver dam in one of the coves with his bass boat to get to the prime fishing habitat on the other side. When my partner finished his wild tale, he stared at me for a minute and said, "What are your eyes all lit up for?" And I told him with a mile-wide grin, "You just helped me rewrite my chase scene," and I already knew I'd be holding my breath when I wrote it.

Hopefully when my readers reach the story's end, they will realize they learned tidbits of tournament fishing knowledge along the way -- and more importantly, laughed all along the way.

My buy link is: http://www.amazon.com/Catch-of-the-Day-ebook/dp/B00AAQCDF4/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354240396&sr=1-16&keywords=desert+breeze+publishing

Find me on the web at: http://www.petiemccarty.com


"4 Stars...CATCH OF THE DAY is Ms. McCarty’s second release and like the first one, EVERGLADES, presents the reader with likeable characters, a mini suspense, and an engaging storyline with an environmental edge. Great story and I am looking forward to more by this author." -- The Romance Readers Connection

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