Last weekend I headed down south for a writers’ retreat/research trip. It was four full days of work and I had a fabulous time catching up with Michelle Diener, Lana Pecherczyk and Daniel de Lorne. We swapped tips, helped brainstorm ideas and wrote – a lot.
One of my aims of the weekend was to interview a couple of professionals: one was the police sergeant who I interviewed in January (I had a heap more questions for him for book 2) and the other was the captain of the local fire and rescue brigade.
Dan came with me to chat to the lovely, friendly neighbourhood cop, and he showed us the holding cell where they put badly behaved people before tranferring them to the bigger neighbouring town. I also came away from the session realising that I needed to update at least one scene and tweak a couple more.
Then my interview with the local fire and rescue captain was fascinating and quite different from the chat I had with someone from the bush fire brigade in January. You see fire and rescue do structural fires and vehicle crashes more than bush fires, and I’d decided Mai was going to be on the fire and rescue team.
The captain answered a whole swag of questions for me and then he showed me around the fire station. That was so incredibly helpful. The fire tanker was so much bigger than I was expecting, and the fast attack vehicle was so compact in comparison. I needed to know what equipment was on each vehicle for story purposes (no spoilers here!) and seeing the vehicles was invaluable. I now know I can add a little bit more detail to a certain scene to make it more authentic, and take some detail out.
I really appreciate it when people take time out of their day to chat to me about their work. It makes it so much easier to write scenes and be confident that what I’m writing is correct. Plus things they say, or things I see, often give me ideas of where the story can go. So, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the gentlemen who helped me on the weekend – you both deserve to be recognised for the jobs you do.