The guest blog is by Darlene Gardner, our Author in Spotlight.
The Research Jackpot by Darlene Gardner
I’m a sportswriter turned romance novelist. Pretty unusual, right? Not in my family, it isn’t. Odd jobs are the norm.
One of my sisters—who, by the way, is tall, blond and beautiful—is a professional dealer at a casino. The other¬—just as tall and just as attractive but a brunette—is a private investigator.
Of the three of us, I think I have the best gig, in part because of their occupations. It’s fantastic to have two prime research sources who are related to me. No matter how many questions I ask, or how dumb they sound, they’ll answer.
The casino dealer doesn’t know it yet, but I’m plotting a book that involves gambling. And I’ll probably use some of her stories, like the one about the compulsive gambler who was told to go home and shower after forty eight straight hours at the casino because he was getting really ripe. Or the cheater who insisted she was picking on him—until the security cameras proved otherwise.
Private eyes show up in my books with regularity. The same female P.I. appears in The Truth About Tara, my current release from Harlequin Superromance, and my December Super Wish Upon a Christmas Star. In the first book, Maria DiMarco gets her brother to check out a tip that a teacher in coastal Virginia resembles the age-progression photo of a child who was abducted thirty years ago. In the second, Maria herself travels to Key West to determine if another brother, long thought dead, might still be alive.
You can’t imagine how many questions and phone calls I made to my sisterly source during the writing of those two books. The upside is that I’m pretty confident I got things right.
Don’t be surprised if the characters in my future books start arresting criminals and taking evidence to crime labs. My nephew was just hired as a cop, and my daughter is in grad school to become a forensic scientist.
I’ve hit the research jackpot!
Darlene Graham's The Truth about Tara