Research … a real job but oh so important!
Sometimes what you think is going to be a great idea for a book turns into a great big UGH! That’s what happens when the research takes on a life of its own and you have a whole lot more work to do than you had planned. Not that it isn’t usually interesting.
AGAINST THE SUN, the sixth book in my AGAINST series, deals with a visit toTexasby a Saudi Arabian sheik and his family. The sheik is there to negotiate a three hundred million dollar oil-well equipment sale with one of Marine Drilling International’s vice presidents, Sage Dumont.
That’s hero, big Jake Cantrell, first appeared in AGAINST THE LAW. At six-foot-five, two-hundred-forty pounds, tough and smart, I knew the minute he walked onto the page that Jake would make a great hero.
He also appeared in AGAINST THE NIGHT when Johnnie Riggs and Amy Brewer’s adventure took them to the jungles ofBelize. In AGAINST THE SUN, Jake is hired to act as Sage’s bodyguard during the Saudis’ visit. Being a Special Forces Marine who’s done corporate protection work in theMiddle East, Jake can also teach her the protocols she will need to know in order to make the deal.
That’s where the research came in. Fortunately, I have a close friend who’s an internationally famous bounty hunter. He’s also done a great deal of work as a bodyguard and even teaches classes on the subject inFlorida, now that he’s retired. When Bob Burton was inSanta Barbaralast year, I was able him to corner him for lunch. That’s when he mentioned the protocols that a businessman had to learn in order to negotiate a deal with the Saudis.
Customs like sitting with your legs crossed and showing someone the bottom of your foot, which is considered a grave insult. Or making a circle with your fingers for the okay sign. To a Saudi Arabian, that is considered giving someone the evil eye.
From that moment on, I knew I had my work cut out for me. The research involved in getting the customs, clothing, and attitudes of the Saudi visitors correct made AGAINST THE SUN one of the most difficult books I’ve ever written. And also one of the most interesting.
On top of the research, there was the problem of dealing with women’s rights inSaudi Arabiawithout offending anyone.
In the end, I think Sage and Jake are two of my strongest, most heroic characters. I hope readers with think their love story is equally strong.
I hope you’ll look for AGAINST THE SUN and the rest of the books in my AGAINST series, and that you enjoy them all.
Very best wishes, Kat