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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Freaky Research Coincidences: A Guest Post by Jaime Loren

Freaky Research Coincidences: A Guest Post by Jaime Loren

Waiting for AprilToday, I’m turning the blog over to Jaime Loren, who’s going to talk about book research coincidence that Freak. You. Out.

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Firstly, I’d like to thank Dianne for having me! Dianne has been really supportive and encouraging during my journey to publication, so I’m thrilled to be able to feature on her blog today after having once been featured in First Impressions!

To begin, I’ll share the blurb of WAITING FOR APRIL so you’ll know what I’m talking about!

 April Fletcher has died nineteen times… but she doesn’t know it.

As far as April is concerned, she’s just a normal seventeen-year-old, looking forward to spending spring break with her friends and going to college in the fall. April doesn’t know she has never lived past her eighteenth birthday, nor does she realize that Scott Parker, her best friend, is actually her childhood sweetheart and fiancé from her very first life.

For nineteen-year-old Scott Parker, spending quality time with his soul mate has proved difficult ever since her tragic death in 1729. Since then he has lost her an additional eighteen times—each of her deaths more devastating than the last, and each of her births wiping the slate of her memory clean. Unable to save her but unwilling to give up, Scott has to hide the fact he’s immortal—and will be until April confesses her love again.

But this time, things have changed. April has denied her feelings for him, is dating someone else, and with her eighteenth birthday fast approaching, their friendship is falling to pieces. Fearing their souls are irrevocably drifting apart, Scott must race against the clock to win her heart and save her life — or risk losing her forever.

Jaime Loren Author ImageGiven the nature of Dianne’s books, I thought it only fitting I write about the eerie things I encountered while researching for this novel.

Because they freaked. Me. Out.

It all started when I called April’s horse Nutmeg. After deciding April and Scott originated in Connecticut, I thought it pretty coincidental upon further research that Connecticut was also known as the Nutmeg State. Funny, yes? It was definitely something that made me go, “Huh. It was meant to be.”

I didn’t realise the Powers That Be were only just getting started.

Now, as writers who don’t live anywhere near the settings of our stories, we rely heavily on Google Maps, amiright? Knowing that April and Scott came from Connecticut, I then chose Wallingford as their hometown. It had history, and it was right in the area I’d pictured them growing up together. Fast forward three hundred years, and I needed an area in or around Wallingford where a farm could still exist—perhaps in secret, in the present. I needed a wooded area that would provide Scott Parker some privacy.

I found such a place. It was wooded. It was large. It was surrounded by houses but accessible by road. It was perfect! There was a main road, not far, that one might travel to get there. It was called PARKER FARMS ROAD.

O_O

That sent some definite shivers down my spine. What were the chances?! So, yeah. That was … weird! It made me pause for a good couple of hours.

But again, that was just a warm-up.

Without giving the story away, I also researched the Salem witch trials. I’d discussed with my editor the things I could possibly touch upon in the novel to explain how it all started, and the witch trials were of interest to me because, well, how convenient that an event that had roots in the magical world (however misled) should occur not far from, and not long before, April and Scott’s births. So, I looked into it. And then I discovered that one of the women who was executed in the trials was married to someone with the exact same name as one of my characters. Not only that, the young girl who started the accusations shared the same last name as another one of my characters.

It was right about this time I considered turning my computer off and never opening my doc again, because seriously?! That was just TOO MUCH. I’d never researched the trials before. Ever! And not one character name was involved, but two? What was going on, here?!

But oh, there’s more.

Because April has been killed nineteen times, I had to get creative with her deaths, and murder was obviously an easy death to explain. Of course, one of the first things I do when I choose a name off the top of my head is Google that name to make sure I’m not using the name of someone relatively famous.

So, I came up with a name. I had my murderer. Easy, right? Then I Googled said name. And I found out it was the name of a murderer.

WHAT????!!! No. Just … no! I had never heard of this person before. The murders he committed occurred years ago! There was no way I could’ve known what his name was!

All of these events were starting to make me question just how fictional my novel was—before I remembered it was about reincarnation and immortality, and laughed it off because April and Scott couldn’t possibly exist in real life. Could they?!

I guess we’ll never know. Scott is pretty good at hiding his unnatural state. 😉

So, I want to leave you with a question today. What eerie similarities have you stumbled across when researching your own novel? Have places and names turned out to be not-so-fictional for anyone else out there? Please tell me I’m not alone! J

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Jaime Loren spends her days chasing her two young children, and her nights writing or reading. So, basically, she doesn’t sleep. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia, but dreams of returning to her small hometown where she can give her children the same upbringing she had: exploring bushland, playing every sport under the sun, riding horses, and waking to the sight of kangaroos outside. WAITING FOR APRIL is Jaime’s debut novel.

You can find Waiting for April at these e-retailers:

Kobo readers

Amazon US

Amazon AUS

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iBooks

You can find Jaime here:

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jaime-Loren/176034632453490

Blog: http://thelovableprotagonist.blogspot.com.au

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14 Responses to Freaky Research Coincidences: A Guest Post by Jaime Loren

  1. Sheri Larsen says:

    Holy coincidences or maybe it’s really the writing powers that be. I’m thinking Scott and April really wanted their tale told. It was great to meet you, Jamie! All the luck in the world to you and your debut.

  2. DianneSalerni says:

    Coincidences … When I wrote the first draft of The Eighth Day, I needed a name for the race of people who are trapped in the secret day. They are a race gifted in magic who lived for a time in the British Isles until some of them waged war on the populace who rose up and defeated them (under the leadership of King Arthur and Merlin) and contained them in the magic day where their lives are extended by living only one day to every seven of ours. I called them the Kin, but that was a place-holder name, until I thought up something better. I never did, and the name stuck.

    While I was researching for the THIRD book in the series, I came across the Treasures of the Tuatha De, something I was going to need for the story. The Tuatha De are a legendary race of people who lived for a time on the British Isles and ruled there. They were gifted in magic, and eventually they were driven out of Britain and into a mysterious realm where they live lives longer than humans.

    “Tuatha De” translates as “the people,” “the tribe,” or … “the kin.”

  3. Cool stuff.

    It’s stopped freaking me out because this happens to me all the time.

    One time on a literary forum, author Diana Gabaldon and I got into a nice conversation about the so-called coincidences that happen when a writer casually looks up stuff (or does heavy duty research) for a story.

    They not only find things they didn’t expect–such as your examples–or they find that an idle look at a site or subject they hadn’t considered before suddenly introduces a fact or a concept that MUST be in the book.

    You’ll probably get used to it.

    Malcolm

  4. Tonja Drecker says:

    That is creepy. Obviously, the book HAD to be. . .and it did! 🙂
    I haven’t experienced anything that spine-tingling. In one of my WIPS, I use as background two historical figures who, at least in my version, hide a treasure. As I researched to see if I could find a way to make this bit of fiction fit in, I learned that there were indeed odd circumstances surrounding one of the figures as he wandered off by himself a few times, and even his much later unexplained murder. Now, I wonder if my treasure isn’t closer to the truth than I thought 😉

  5. I think it was all just a sign that your story was meant to be. No one can say you didn’t get your facts straight!

  6. Those are a lot of “coincidences.” I agree with Alex that this must have meant that your story was meant to be.

  7. I am not an aspiring fiction novel writer and no coincidences to report here in my writing. (maybe I’ll look for the cosmic though now. . .)

    But, that said. . .wouldn’t you say that when you are “in the zone” with writing that you are often “channeling” or at least feel that way?

    I know I do.

    I think you’re channeling. 🙂

  8. Tiana Smith says:

    Wow that is freaky! I’ve never had anything quite like that, but at least it means you were spot on at creating names and places that were historically accurate. 🙂

  9. Had to laugh because I just posted about coincidence on the UncommonYA blog today! Now that’s a coincidence, right?

    I’d love to be standing in that field of lavender. I could almost smell it when I saw the cover.

  10. DL Hammons says:

    If I was a detective I’d say there’s no such thing as coincidences…but holy crap! 🙂

  11. Very cool. I do love the premise behind the book too.

  12. I am totally adding this to my TBR pile. I love the idea of past lives.

  13. mshatch says:

    Hah! I’m not the only one who worships Google Maps – especially the streetview feature! And I’m happy to say nothing spooky like that has happened to me. It’s almost like you were getting messages from the dead. But of course we all know that’s impossible…

  14. Joanne Fritz says:

    Nothing that crazy has happened in my writing, but I often find that I’ll read some interesting bit of information for the first time, and then it comes in extremely handy during a conversation with a friend or family member later that same day. I’ve gotten kind of used to it.

    And I love the premise of this novel. Sounds very romantic too.