Sunday, September 24, 2017

I CONFESS by Brenda Whiteside


Jerome, always uphill or downhill
Confession #1…I don’t enjoy doing research for a new book. Many times, I’ll have only a vague knowledge of my setting, time period, and character backgrounds when I dive into that first chapter. At some point, I’ll be stopped by my lack of information, and I’ll be forced to Google or send an email to someone to obtain the facts I need.
Confession #2…The settings for my books are generally
Some ruins are put to use
somewhat accurate, but I take great liberties if need be. I’ve normally been to the city or mountain or country and know enough to make it come to life for the reader. I’ve never been too concerned because I “see” the scenery the way I want to portray it.
Confession #3…It’s not really a confession at all, but an epiphany. Research can be fun. The setting for my next book is a short two hours away and a town I’ve long been in love with. I don’t know why this story didn’t call to me sooner. The research this time around has me excited.
Imagine the ladies beckoning
Jerome, Arizona was a mining town that got rolling in the 1880s. The Jerome family, related to Winston Churchill’s mother, invested in the mines. The town grew, hanging precariously to the side of Cleopatra Hill in the Black Hills. By the 1920s, the population had reached 15,000. There were more prostitutes per capita than any other city. It was truly the wild west and as colorful as a town can get. The stock market crashed in 1929, and by 1955 the population was less than 100. In the late 1960’s, the hippies converged on the town and it became one of those destinations like Haight Ashbury and Taos. Over the decades, there have
Stairs are the quick route from street to street
been numerous fires, sliding buildings, and political wrangling. Today, with a population of just under 500, a handful of the original hippies remain in a hard to get to area of the town. Many accounts of the town’s rebirth thank them for the artsy community it is now and for keeping the town in its original form.
As a lover of western culture and a wannabe hippie (I toyed with the lifestyle a little), I’m having a high time (excuse the pun) researching Jerome.
Until I get the Jerome stories down on paper, I hope you’ll read my current series mostly set in north and north central Arizona. The first four books in the Love and Murder Series are available. Book five will launch early next year. Amazon Author Page

20 comments:

Margo Hoornstra said...

Brenda, Nothing better than enjoying the research part of writing. Isn't it great to be excited about a new project? Thanks for sharing the info and pictures. What a history!

Jannine Gallant said...

Jerome sounds like a fun place to research! My suspense books are all set in familiar territory, mostly in made-up towns or ones I know well. I haven't had to do a lot of research for the setting, and I kind of miss that. My historical witchcraft book required a ton of research, but I studied that period in college, so I had a jump-start. For my next series, I'm thinking I might try to combine past mystery with current suspense, which will allow me to delve back into research for the historical aspects. You've got me motivated to do research again!

Barbara Edwards said...

What a great place for your story setting! I'm looking forward to reading the books.

Barbara Edwards said...

What a great setting for your stories! I'm looking forward to reading them. I love westerns.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks, Margo and Barbara. Jannine, that sounds like a good combination!

RE Mullins said...

I find it fascinating. Which makes my problem - researching too much. Then I want to add every bit of minutia, because I find it all interesting, whether it's germane to the story or not.
Good luck!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Love Jerome, a perfect setting for a novel with a kaleidoscope of angles you can take. I'm glad it's close, because even if you take liberties with the way you describe the setting, once you draft the book, you might want to go back and check some details in the town. I did that with Sequoia and it was fun and enlightening.

Brenda Whiteside said...

That can be a problem, RE, which is why I want to write a second series set in the 70s. It was the era that revived the dead ghost town.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Good point, Rolynn. I've also decided to do this first series in the hear and now. And then I'll pull a Star Wars and write the beginning years next.

Andrea Downing said...

Interesting. I know quite a bit about the Jerome family but had no idea the town was named for them. Thanks for that info. Would love to visit it one day. Good luck with the book!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Andrea, I didn't know anything about the Jerome family until I started this research. I find that interesting!

Vonnie Davis, Author said...

Research? I research to the types of trees, flowers, and weather of the area I'm writing about. The types of birds native to the area and wild animals. I'm so afraid of mentioning a tree and some reviewer saying, "I live there and that tree would never survive." I researching the parts of a helicopter now. I think your hippie area sounds much more interesting. You could create some cool secondary characters out of them.

Brenda Whiteside said...

I totally agree, Vonnie. AND I might just do the 70s first once I get deeper into the research.

Leah St. James said...

Well, now I'm adding Jerome to my travel bucket list! It sounds fascinating! I'm with the group who love researching, though, and often get too far into the details. (I also have researched helicopters--what the interior is like, what does it feel like to fly in one, etc.) Thank goodness for Google and people who share everything online! The new book sounds wonderful

Brenda Whiteside said...

Here, here about Google, Leah. I'd rather do hands on but that's not realistic.

Alison Henderson said...

I love research! I've often found that research inspires plot ideas--always welcome. So far in my books, I've stuck very close to the truth in my settings, but I that will probably have to change in my next series. I want to do a trilogy set around here, but featuring a fictional restaurant in a setting that combines features of several actual places. I'll have to see how that works out. I'm glad you're having so much fun with Jerome!

Brenda Whiteside said...

When it comes to restaurants and hotels, etc., I'm never sure how truthful to be. I usually make up names, but I'll have to see how close to the truth I'll stay with Jerome. I might be able to get agreements from some of the more historical sites that are still operating as long as I don't dis them.

Diane Burton said...

I research the same way you do--when I need the info. Oh, what worlds that opens up and so many great ideas. The last time we were in AZ, we thought about going to Jerome. Then we planned to go there on the next trip. You know how that goes. Some day . . .

Brenda Whiteside said...

Don't miss it next time, Diane!

Alicia Dean said...

UGH, I know I commented, but I can't find it now... hmmm... Jerome sounds amazing. Love the pics!! I do not enjoy research, I only do as much as necessary. And maybe not enough that is necessary. :D Good luck and best wishes on the book!