One of the perks of writing a novel can be the research that emerges the author in similar real-life settings. Since I enjoy meeting new people and visiting new places, this is a true bonus from my perspective.
Recently, I felt the need for more in-depth research on dog kennels for my upcoming sequel to Shards of Trust, so I reached out to Valerie Snyder at the Animal Inn. I was welcomed as though it was no big deal to have a stranger intrude on her busy day. Not only did she answer my list of prepared questions, but she also provided me with a grand tour of her country kennel.
I made a new friend, Elise, an extremely gentle, though shy, doberman with an affinity for dog treats. She remained by my side the entire visit, most likely hoping for another treat, which she gladly received before I left.
Her owner, Valerie, gave me a peek into the world of dog kennel owners, from starting out in the business to building repeat customers. Also, the tour gave me the visuals that I needed for creating and describing a similar setting in my book.
Sharing some of my ideas for the next book, Valerie helped me to see what was possible and what was completely unrealistic. This is important because, although it is fiction, readers still want to be able to believe what they are reading.
One word of advice, though, it definitely helps to have prepared questions, so that no one's precious time is wasted. Also, do offer to thank them in your acknowledgements when your novel is completed. But why wait? I'd like to thank Valerie Snyder at the Animal Inn for her assistance in helping me to craft my next novel. I look forward to continued research as the number of pages grow and the characters take on a life of their own.