DON’T BE AFRAID TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS AN AUTHOR.
It doesn’t matter if you’re working on your first or tenth book, you ARE an author. Referring to yourself as an author can open important doors for you, particularly in research. Don’t be afraid to say, “My name John Doe. I’m writing a book about people that have names that are hard to remember. I need a little information that I think you can help me with.” It’s amazing! People will go out of their way to help authors!
EXAMPLE: I wrote my first novel at age 82. I based lots of it on personal experiences and memory. However there was a section involving a homicide and the city morgue, neither of which I’ve had any personal experience with, I called the San Francisco Morgue, reached an attendant, described myself as an author with a problem and spent a delightful half hour getting more information than I actually needed.
EXAMPLE: I wanted to place a banquet scene at a world famous Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. Even though I had eaten there I had never seen their banquet room. I made a luncheon reservation for my wife and myself and asked for a mini-tour of the premises as an author seeking authenticity. Upon arrival we were greeted by the owner who sat with us at lunch, conducted the tour himself and also told us the history of the restaurant. Perfect! (We also were treated to a free lunch, also perfect)
EXAMPLE: Even tho I’ve had much personal experience in Yosemite, I needed information about the Park Rangers I didn’t have. I called the Yosemite Park Administration Office and identified myself as an author needing information. They asked me to leave my number and someone would return my call. Two weeks later I received a call with the caller identified as U.S. GOVERNMENT. To my surprise it was the Yosemite Park Superintendent himself on the phone. He was more than happy to answer all my questions.
POINT: In order to give your novel authenticity and also give yourself confidence in your text you need to be as knowledgeable as possible about places and people. The best source of knowledge is personal experience, next to that is someone else’s personal experience, borrowed. Don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t skimp on research. AND, don’t be afraid to take your hero or heroine someplace you’ve never been. BUT do take the time and make the effort to authenticate the location through interviews, maps, guides, travel bureaus, phone calls, whatever. Then identify yourself as an author seeking knowledge. You will be surprised at the reception you get.
Richard L. Wren
IN HIS NEW CAREER AS AN AUTHOR, RICHARD DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS TALL, DARK, HANDSOME AND A LIAR. A FOURTH GENERATION CALIFORNIAN, A SAILOR, FATHER OF FOUR BEAUTIFUL AND SUPPORTIVE DAUGHTERS, AND HUSBAND TO ONE OF THE BEST WIVES OF ALL TIME. [MORE]