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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Book Research: An NYC Lunch Meeting, a Statue, and an Eye Bolt

Book Research: An NYC Lunch Meeting, a Statue, and an Eye Bolt

One of the things that makes you feel like a real author (even when you already know you are and have held your own books in your hands) is traveling some place for book research. Even if you travel all the time for work, vacation, to visit family, etc, there’s something really cool about saying, “I’m here researching my next book …”

I’ve researched books in a creepy Catawissa cemetery, on top of a 2000 year old Mexican pyramid, and at a Roman amphitheater in Wales. Most recently, I went to New York City to visit the Central Park Zoo.

My family made a whole day out of it. We took the train from the University of Delaware Amtrak stop in Newark, Delaware. It’s a little station.

I mean LITTLE. When the train stops for you, there’s only one car you can board, and you have to cross the tracks to do so.

When we arrived, we went for lunch before the zoo, and I got to meet up with blogger-friend Melissa Sarno.

Then it was off to Central Park. Before the zoo, we made a point to visit the Balto statue. I have an important scene here in The Eighth Day #2.

My daughters were impressed that the entrance to the Central Park Zoo looked just the way it did in the movie Madagascar.

But I was really here to replace a scene I had already written in the manuscript. You see, the polar bear tank played an important part in my Central Park Zoo scene, but sadly, Gus the Polar Bear recently died. The fate of this exhibit is uncertain. I chatted with a zoo employee who said that the Zoo — and Mayor Bloomberg  — would really like to have another polar bear. But acquiring one is tricky. It would have to be a rescue situation, and it would have to be determined by experts that this exhibit was right for that bear.

Chances are, this exhibit will no longer exist by the time The Eighth Day #2 is published. So I spent most of my visit to the zoo surveying a replacement: the snow leopard exhibit. While we were there, the male snow leopard made one of his rare appearances, approaching the observation platform and showing himself to the visitors.

And … we totally FAILED to get a picture of him. We were too busy taking pictures of the eaves of the observation platform. You can tell you’re a writer when people are climbing over each other to take pictures of a beautiful snow leopard, and you’re off to the side taking pictures of how a steel net is attached to a building with eye bolts.

There it is folks, the thing I went to New York City to see. Bolts. It’s a glamorous job, researching books!

I’ll be posting late on Wednesday with the winner of the Very Superstitious e-book. (See below)

And I’ll be back on Friday with a very clever scavenger hunt leading up to Lexa Cain‘s cover reveal for Soul Cutter.

19 Responses to Book Research: An NYC Lunch Meeting, a Statue, and an Eye Bolt

  1. Awesome how much research you do for your books, Dianne. And funny what you were taking pictures of at the zoo, unlike other visitors.

  2. Ha! I love all the travel you do for your books!

  3. I am envious that you get to do so much travel for your books. Amazing!

  4. Psst….reading this reminded me: I was chatting with one of my middle school teacher friends and mentioned your new MG to her. She’s excited to get it!!! πŸ™‚

  5. Julie Dao says:

    Oh, I love writerly trips! Sounds like you guys had a fantastic time πŸ™‚

  6. I was supposed to go to the pirate museum this summer to research the book I’m currently writing. But we couldn’t go, and once I started writing, I realized I couldn’t have pirates in the book, so I guess it’s a good thing. But next summer we’re going home again for a few weeks and I’ll be basking in research. Yay.

    Love those eaves. And that would be something I would do. Taking pictures of what I need instead of what I want.

  7. Lexa Cain says:

    You’re a riot – how could you not get the snow leopard?! I lived in NYC for about 10 years, worked right across the street from the park for many of them, but only went through the park once or twice and never went to the zoo. So thanks for the pics to show this ex-New Yorker what the zoo looks like! lol

  8. Tiana Smith says:

    Ha ha – hmmmm, snow leopard or eaves … I know which one I think is more exciting πŸ™‚

  9. Robin says:

    This had me chuckling. I hope those I-Bolts really turned your crank;)

  10. J E Oneil says:

    Aw, too bad you missed the picture opportunity. I love kitties, big ones included.

    You must be very dedicated to research bolts like that. It’s always best to see things in person πŸ™‚

  11. I’m exactly the same way. Need to see, know and feel the place I’ll be writing about. Glad you had a great research trip.

  12. So awesome! I’ve never done a trip JUST for research, but I have done research while I’ve been on trips. Just in case. πŸ˜‰

    And seriously, SO jealous you got to have lunch with Melissa!

  13. mshatch says:

    Hahah! Love that pic of the roofline. Very impressive, lol. Sounds like a fun adventure πŸ™‚

  14. Sounds like fun research, Dianne! I love cemeteries. I guess that’s why they appear in so many of my books. πŸ˜‰

  15. This post brought a smile to my face, as you probably know why! You are such an in-the-trenches writer! So does this mean the snow leopard exhibit will work, then? I guess I’ll find out soon πŸ˜‰

    Alyssa M.

  16. It was so lovely to see you, Dianne. And I’m happy you know how to break into zoo exhibits as a result of the trip. Can’t wait to read the new scene!

  17. Hi Dianne .. how sad to think they’ll close the Polar Bear enclosure .. mind you it must be a lonely existence and perhaps if the bears are more in their own environment being looked after they’ll be happier.

    Love how you researched the bolts, netting etc .. and double checked all the details .. then meeting Melissa – what fun .. a good day for one and all … cheers Hilary

  18. Sounds like an interesting research trip. : )