Let's start with family.
It gets pretty crazy around here, but I'm so thankful God's made my mind in such a way that I can still write in the midst of chaos. Times like the scene above are usually short, because I work during the week, so writing time happens at night or on weekends. It's important for me to be in the middle of what the kids are doing, so I come down to join the chaos - and they don't seem to mind too much either :-)
Next, I write about small towns.
Telling stories is at the heart of my Appalachian culture. Whether I'm writing historical or contemporary (or spec), I love using my heritage as paint for the page of my stories. Here's a very small peek into one place of inspiration.
And last - but certainly not least, is a view from the mountains. My family have been in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina for generations - now we live in the mountains of Tennessee. The rich heritage and culture (as well as the humor) play a big part in my novels.
1. The internet - Youtube is a favorite of mine. I watched 7 calf births before I wrote my first calf birthing scene in my recent contemp romance.
2. Great sources - A friend of mine (a cattle farmer) also gave me important tips - even read through the scene to make sure it had the right info. My mom is a nurse, my dad is a cop, they provide lots of wonderful detailed info. My dad helped me design a gun for my spec fiction so that my heroine could shoot a special kind of explosives, he also told me how long it would take someone to drown in a crashed car in the tributary of a dam. Mom helps with my medical info.
Recently I interviewed a Resort Manager for a mountain lake to get information for a future novel. If you can, go to the source, or next best thing.
3. Historical Research & Family History - Because a lot of my stories are from family history, I draw from information in history as well as old photographs. With only photos, I'd truly be left in a black and white world, but I also have a rich oral history passed down through generations, so the pictures become much more colorful.
So - how do you write what you know?
What do you do to help write what you don't know?