This last weekend, I read an ARC (advanced review copy) of Pamela Beason’s soon-to-be released book, Endangered (due to hit the shelves in December 2011). The story is about a wildlife biologist who is camping in the Utah backcountry in order to get stories for her new job as a wilderness journalist for an online magazine. A young child goes missing from a campground there and she is one of the last to see him, so she feels responsible and becomes involved in the search for the little boy. While the story is a mystery full of nail-biting suspense and tons of wonderful action and adventure, we get a taste of what it is like to be a wildlife biologist—enough to make me daydream about being one myself.
The way this book made me want to explore a different career reminded me of when I first watched Indiana Jones (the first one) and had this fierce desire to become an archaeologist. While I came to learn that this archaeology itch of mine was only something that needed to be periodically scratched, not something to spend years studying for and following, I love how fiction allows me to step out of my own writing shoes for a bit and try a different career on for size.
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie that gave you the new-career itch?
I also love how writing fiction allows me to explore a new career, if only in my head. One of the books I wrote years ago has a heroine who is an archaeologist who runs a dig in the Yucatan. Was this story partly inspired by Indiana Jones? You betcha! And I had a fun time researching it and living vicariously through my characters as I wrote it. I plan to revisit that book again in the future and tweak it slightly to fit in as the first book in another mystery series that ties into my Deadwood Mystery series. I’m excited to “dig” back in and play archaeologist again (although the heat down there in the Yucatan makes me woozy some days—ha!).
If you’re an author, what is the most entertaining career you’ve researched?
Pamela Beason’s bio says she’s a private investigator, not a wildlife biologist. In her book, I could have easily believed she was a wildlife biologist. I have had several fans of my Deadwood Mystery series email me to ask me how long I’ve been a Realtor (the heroine in that series is a Realtor). The answer: I’ve never been a Realtor. I’ve never even worked in a realty office. But it makes me smile wide when I get that question, because I know I’ve done a good job of convincing my readers otherwise, and that they were able to fall into the story and believe Violet Parker really is a Realtor.
Have you ever read a book where the author did such a great job with the character’s careers that you were convinced the author must have experience in that field? What about a book where it was obvious the author didn’t do enough research?
Thank you for any thoughts or comments you have on writing and careers!