I am frequently asked about how I come up with my story ideas and how much of what I write is based on my own knowledge and experiences rather than research. Writing about what I know or have experienced leads to a more genuine, believable story in my opinion. But to write convincing, diverse stories, there is always an element of research that is necessary. I am privileged to have a network of fascinating subject-matter experts I can draw on directly for research purposes, or to assist me in making connections to those who can.
For example, my first Heartwarming book, A Child’s Christmas, involves a character facing a serious health challenge. How fortunate for me to have a very good friend who is a medical doctor and hospital administrator. I consulted her when I was formulating the story. I also provided her with a copy of the first draft of the manuscript to review to ensure the medical references were accurate and credible.
What about settings? It always helps if I have visited a location or if I base a fictitious location on a place I have visited. My debut novel, Silver Linings, is set in St. Lucia. This beautiful island is one of the two Caribbean destinations my husband and I enjoy most. In fact, my husband and I were married in an elegant ocean-front wedding on the island. Clearly, setting a novel in this beautiful locale made perfect sense to me. The resort that is being constructed by the hero is loosely based on the spectacular Calabash Cove property. My current release, The Truth About Hope, is set predominantly in a small town in Texas. My husband and I have great friends who live in Texas in a town about an hour outside Austin. Canyon Creek is a fictionalized version of the town where our friends live. The promontory where a couple of the key events occur is an important setting in the story. During a stay with our friends, we visited a breathtaking promontory close to their home that I’ve fictionalized for the purpose of situating these fateful scenes.
Saving the best for last, the most fun I’ve had doing research is for my upcoming K-9 trilogy for Harlequin Heartwarming.
The first book in the trilogy, When the Right One Comes Along, will be released in October of this year, with the second book, When Love Matters Most, following in January 2016. Needing to do research, my husband put me in touch with some of his law enforcement contacts. After securing the requisite security clearance and necessary approvals, I had the great pleasure of spending a considerable amount of time with PC Jim Hilton of Ontario’s York Regional Police. PC Hilton is a K-9 expert and trainer, and is partnered with explosives detection dog, Max. PC Hilton was extremely generous with his time, knowledge and expertise, and I loved meeting Max.
(My first introduction to explosives detection police service dog (PSD) Max.)
Did you know police service dogs have their own police badges?
PC Hilton was willing to put Max through some training exercises for me and demonstrate Max’s remarkable agility skills—a prerequisite for Max’s job.
(PC Jim Hilton and his explosives detection K-9 partner, Max)
Would you think a police service dog could scale a six-foot barricade or climb a ladder…conditions the dogs can often face in the field while on duty? I captured the next picture while Max was demonstrating his agility skills.
(PC Hilton putting Max through his agility exercises.)
For all animal lovers, you’d be thrilled to see how enthusiastic and joyous Max is about doing his exercises. I was surprised to learn that Max’s positive reinforcement for a job well done is praise and a Kong toy—no treats.
PC Hilton shared with me some of the intricacies of the work he and Max are called upon to do, and the training exercises they undergo to ensure Max remains in top form. Did you know that the K-9 unit officers and their dogs have one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement? Read When the Right One Comes Along to find out why! 🙂
Did you know that police service dogs often have their own “business cards?”
Max’ bio is on his card. He was born on December 12, 2008 in the Czech Republic and was brought to Canada to become a police service dog in March 2011. Did you know that most police service dogs are not bred in North America but imported from countries such as Germany, Holland and Belgium? Read When Love Matters Most to find out why! 🙂
PC Hilton even gave me reference materials to take home and read at my leisure!
(Nothing like a little light nighttime reading.)
It’s no hardship spending my time doing this type of research! I am grateful to PC Hilton and Max for educating me with respect to the roles and responsibilities of the K-9 unit, K-9 unit officers, and their police service dogs. If you get the chance to read my K-9 trilogy, I hope you enjoy it.
Lisette, thank you for hosting me at your Writers’ Chateau for the second time.
My absolute pleasure, Kate!
Happy reading and, as always, I would love to hear from you!
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Kate spent much of her childhood abroad before attending university in Canada. She built a successful business career, but her passion has always been literature. As a result Kate turned her energy to her love of the written word. Her writing has been recognized with a number of awards, including first place honors for Silver Linings in both the First Coast Romance Writers’ Published Beacon Contest and ACRA’s Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Award. Her November Harlequin Heartwarming release, A Child’s Christmas, received first-place honors from Southern Magic, the Birmingham Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, for the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and has just been named a finalist in RWA’s Desert Rose Chapter’s Golden Quill readers choice award!
When Kate and her husband aren’t traveling, they split their time between their properties in southern and central Ontario in Canada, with their beloved black Labs, Harley and Logan.
The Truth About Hope – Now Available
Who is Hope Wilson?
Is she the girl her former hometown thinks she is? Or the girl Luke Carter once loved—and maybe still does?
When Hope returns to Canyon Creek, Texas, to honor her father’s last wishes, there’s only one person on her mind. Her high school sweetheart, Luke. The boy she lied to when she had to leave Canyon Creek as a teen, finding it easier to hide what she really felt than deal with the grief of loss. Her father’s fortune could make a big
difference to Canyon Creek—but Hope finds that the townspeople have a long memory about his misdeeds. With a plan to make amends on his behalf, Hope learns the truth about herself. And the truth about love.
When the Right One Comes Along, book 1 of the K-9 trilogy – available for preorder
Brought together by disaster. Kept together by love.
In the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, it’s chaos for trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen. Among the many victims, one patient stands out—San Diego Police K-9 search and rescue officer Cal Palmer.
Cal vows to help Kayla, a child orphaned by the disaster. But he needs Jessica’s help. Will their shared concern for Kayla and for Cal’s canine partner, Scout, allow them to put aside their personal torments and discover the difference love can make?
Thank you for inviting me back to your Writers’ Chateau, and for all your generous support of fellow authors.
Happy writing and reading!