I wanted to post something about writing today, so I decided to share with you where I am on Till You Come Back to Me, the sequel to A Woman's Worth.
Getting this story off the ground is taking a little more research than I expected. This is Charles Stafford's book. He is a plastic surgeon who, in the opening chapter, announces to his family that he is selling is medical practice and going to Nigeria for part of the year to work with Doctors Without Borders.
Since I needed to introduce the heroine early on, I had to start researching Nigeria. I was all set to begin the storyline I had set in my mind for her when I received a tweet from a reader who said, "I just finished reading A Woman's Worth, and I was so pleased to see that your next book will be set in Nigeria, my homeland." I responded to her and after a few messages back and forth, I asked if she would give me her opinion on my idea of Adanna's story. What I've learned has been eye-opening.
First of all, I learned that relying on Internet articles, even those written on sites originating in a particular country, is risky. As Americans, we tend to lump people together merely because they come from the same land. Growing up in the northeast, I always heard people of Latino heritage referred to as Puerto Ricans when in reality they might have been from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico or any of the numerous Spanish-speaking nations. I found out that in Africa tribal roots are very important, especially when it comes to marriage.
She also explained to me that skin color doesn't really have a major influence in dating and relationships as it often does here in the US.
Naturally, I had to learn something about Nigerian food, television, music, and daily life in general.
This is the part of writing I absolutely love. Learning about places, people and things always gets my motor running. I also spent a while on the Doctors Without Borders web site.
This fabulous organization mobilizes volunteer doctors, nurses and other support personnel to give of their time in foreign countries where their services are desperately needed. Since Charles specializes in maxillofacial surgery, he'll be concentrating on surgeries on patients with facial deformities, particularly children. That requires me to read up on the correction of cleft palates and other deformities that are common in Nigeria. I learned that these abnormalities are often the result of malnourished mothers during pregnancy - a major problem in most African countries.
Charles will only be working overseas for half of the year. The other half he'll be living and working in Las Vegas with his twin, Marc, to get more clients for his personal training business. This required some investigation into how top personal trainers go about getting business.
Today I'm starting Chapter Four in which Charles goes to New York to do his DWB orientation. He stays with his brother, Greg, a television personalty, and while he's there he notices some unsettling things. Can anybody say Book Three? LOL!
OMG! I love what I do...