Friday, April 16, 2021

In the Name of Research

 Ever wonder where writers get ideas for characters.  For me it can be as simple as a trip to the bank.

Because of Covid they were letting very few people into the bank at a time and we had to stand in line outside for a considerable amount of time.  To some people it was an annoyance, for me it gave me time to listen to the conversation of the couple behind me.

I had watched them approach the line.  The woman was fit looking in a pair of jeans that fit loosely the way older women tend to wear them.  I guessed she was in her late sixties, though her hair was still brown and didn’t appear dyed.  She had good features, but wore no make-up.  The man seemed much more frail.  He walked hesitantly with a cane, had thinning white hair and a sour expression.  I could hear him complaining before they even took the spot behind me in line.

Their conversation amazed me.  The woman had a competent look about and as she was talking, she mentioned that she’d worked in the office of a private school.  The man seemed not only used to being in control of anything financial, but talked to her as if she couldn’t handle making a deposit on her own.  I was shocked when she didn’t object.  He went on grumbling and she just tried to smooth things out, never once saying that she could handle whatever transaction they were waiting to make.  The only thing he seemed to think she was useful for was an ear to listen to his complaints.

I didn’t use them exactly, but loosely as a couple in ONE FOR THE HOOKS that comes out in August.

I always laugh at people complaining about waiting in line.  To me it is the chance to people watch and eavesdrop.

At the grocery store, I’m fascinated by what the people ahead of me are buying and I tend to make assumptions about them.  I wonder if the people behind me are doing the same.

Once waiting at a bakery, I watched as this man kept trying to get some free samples. He was nice looking and seemed to think he had some kind of magnetic charm.  No matter how many time the clerk said no, he didn’t give up, as if she would relent if he came up with a good enough reason.  The clerk didn’t relent.  And finally  he got testy and left in huff, not buying anything.  

It’s always a people show wherever I go.


Linda Osborn said...

Ah, people watching is so interesting ! I am always puzzled by the couples in restaurants who eat in silence, probably old married folk. It bothers me most since I no longer have my husband to sit with ! At least we usually talked about the kids or our work, and I miss that. I am inclined to pick up food and sit in my car to eat and people-watch now. Many other people do the same thing, one of these days I need to try and strike up parking lot conversations {with sweet little ladies of course }.

I decided to reread all the crochet books--3rd time. I had almost forgotten how sexy Barry was in book one !!! Keep up the good work, your readers are anxious for more !!!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I had the super duper people watching experience. We went to Disney World for a few days. By the third day, I had a blister on the bottom of my foot. I was able to manage so that I wasn't walking directly on it, but ended up sitting a lot and watching and listening to all the people. What a show!

I don't want to give away anything, but there is a lot Barry in ONE FOR THE HOOKS. I wasn't sure how the book was going to end until it came to typing it. I am flattered that you have reread the books.

Sally Morrison said...

I kind of liked Barry in your other books so I'm excited to see what is in store for your new one. To me, Barry seemed like a diamond in the rough. Like he could really be a wonderful companion but had some rough edges to smooth out. However, I also feel like he didn't really respect her sleuthing skills either. Anyway, loads of fun to read your books. I think I'll start them over as well to get ready for August.

Betty Hechtman said...

Sally, I'm glad you find my books fun. That is my goal. I thought of you when I was in Florida this past week. You're in Orlando, right? I got to see a little of the real place. The zipper on my son's suitcase broke and went to Costco to get a replacement. We had to go back again and return the suitcase we bought and replace it with a bigger one. It seems like wherever we go, we end up at Costco. It was nice to load up on 25 cent bottle and get the cold brew smoothies.

chkntza said...

I also like to people watch and eavesdrop. I also use my time standing in line to read. Barry is a nice guy,

Betty Hechtman said...

Chkntza, reading is a good option when you're waiting in line. I think Barry is very much affected by his job. I never really understood what a homicide detective had to deal with until I went to a writers workshop put on by the Fort Worth police department. a homicide detective spoke and showed pictures. Photographs too awful to describe, but of what he had to deal with. That's when I understood that Barry would keep a lot of his feelings under wraps.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm always happy to use everything and anything I do to come up with ideas and for research. Standing in line can help with both!