I went to D.C. for a few days this week to see the cherry blossoms and do some research.
I lived in D.C. for fifteen years. My Dad asked me, rightly so, why I needed to go do research in a town I knew like the back of my hand. It's a valid point. When we do research, it's easy to rely on our memories, or Google, or Wikipedia. But nothing, NOTHING, replaces actually seeing, breathing and smelling the place you're setting your book.
So I went to D.C. to see what I didn't remember, which, as it turns out, was a lot. And I had a scene that I love that needs to be completely redone because I had it wrong. The area I was setting the scene in has changed dramatically since I used to drive its streets. So the whole trip was worth it just for that moment's realization. It was like when I went to Scotland in November for #7 and realized I had the colors completely wrong. In the grand scheme of things, it may not matter to the story, but I'm loathe to get things incorrect if it can be helped.
I got to hang out with two very cool writers whilst in D.C.:
Kelly Kennedy, whose amazing book THEY FOUGHT FOR EACH OTHER is one of my research books for my new novel. We share an agent, and a lot of interests. She's a thriller chick in more ways than one - check her out here. As you can imagine, I was quite smitten.
And my darling sweet friend Princess Alethea Kontis, master of the creative arts. We had a good catch-up chat, I got to meet her fairy godboyfriend, who is wonderful, and we left with promises to continue inspiring one anther.
I also was able to hang with my BFF from high school, walk the mall, visit the grave of a boy I knew at Arlington Cemetery, and eat lots of good food. Clams and linguini at Clyde's is about as good as it gets.
Plus, Randy and I hit all the old spots: the places where we met, dated, kissed, loved, all that jazz. Here we are at the place where we hooked up the first time - The Red Lion. We spent a lot of time there during school. It was the spot where we really fell for each other, that first night.
All in all, it was a great trip. I'll have to go back later in the spring, probably, but I have what I need for now.The problem with going to a town you lived in for 15 years on a research trip is not being able to get together with everyone you want to. But what's a chick to do?
And yes, D.C. features rather prominently in my new book. ; )
I'm exhausted though. Being on the road since February 28, I've discovered that all this travel is just becoming too much for me to handle. Too much for the cat, and my family, too. So I'm glad to be home, settling back into my routine. I hope your weekend was great!