Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Field Rules. I’m sharing a guest post written by the author with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the blog tour and to Carla Luna for writing her guest post!
What happens in the field, stays in the field. Or does it?
After the disastrous way her first archaeological dig ended, graduate student Olivia Sanchez abandoned her dreams of working in the field. Now, thanks to a last-minute teaching opportunity in Cyprus, she’ll get another chance to explore ancient history firsthand. This time, failure isn’t an option.
But digging up the past takes on a whole new meaning when she’s forced to team up with her ex, shovel bum Rick Langston.
For years, Rick has proven his archaeological skills all over the Mediterranean. But with no graduate degree—and a habit of attracting trouble—his reputation could use a little rehab. All he has to do is play by the rules while he’s in Cyprus and he’ll secure a coveted recommendation for his next job. Until Olivia resurfaces like a cursed relic from the past.
Given that their last fling nearly led to their academic ruin, Olivia and Rick can’t afford to repeat their past mistakes. But as they work together under the scorching Mediterranean sun, the heat between them proves impossible to ignore.
Carla Luna has written a post entitled Travel Research.
My latest release, a romantic comedy entitled Field Rules, takes place at an archaeological dig on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. In part, the story is based on my own experiences when I worked there as an archaeologist in 1986. When I started drafting Field Rules, one of the first things I did was plan a trip to Cyprus. Since I hadn’t been there in over 30 years, I made sure to take notes and photos everywhere I went. Not only was it a lot of fun, but I got a better feel for the island. As an author, I find that nothing beats the experience of visiting your book’s setting in person.
But what if you can’t afford to travel right now? Or if your job doesn’t give you enough time off? Or if travel simply isn’t safe?
As an example, when I wrote my first romantic comedy, Blue Hawaiian, I set it on the island of Maui. Though I’d been there for my honeymoon, that was a long time ago! I wanted to go back and revisit the island, but due to the strict travel protocols enforced in 2020, Hawaii was off-limits to tourists. So, I had to make do with virtual travel. Thanks to the internet, there are lots of ways to “visit” a place without leaving the comfort of your couch. All it takes is some time and effort.
Usually, when I begin researching a city or a country, I’ll start off with a tangible guide—something I can hold in my hand. I’ll check my library for travel books like Frommer’s, Fodor’s, or Lonely Planet guides that will give me a basic overview. I’ll also email tourist organizations and resorts for free travel brochures. Since I love maps, sometimes I’ll order a map of the area—the ones put out by National Geographic are excellent.
Next comes online research. At the moment, I’m currently writing a short story set in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Since I won’t have a chance to jet off to Mexico before the story is due (I wish!), I’ve resorted to the internet. In addition to reading loads of material about the peninsula on tourist websites and reading site reviews on TripAdvisor (where travelers are brutally honest!), I’ve watched hours of YouTube videos—some created by tour companies and others by travelers or travel influencers. I’ve watched documentaries and travel/adventure shows on the Discovery Channel, I’ve listened to podcasts, and I’ve read firsthand accounts on travel blogs.
In playing “tourist,” I’ve also scoured hotel and restaurant websites, studying the rooms, the menus, and the décor—all to get a snapshot of the places my characters will be visiting. I’ve checked airport websites to confirm flight times and availability, just to make sure I’m not putting my characters on non-existent flights!
Finally, if I’m lucky enough, I’ll look for an early reader who’s been to the area. This way, I can be sure I didn’t mess up any of the details. I’ve also conducted phone and in-person interviews with people who’ve spent time in the places I’m writing about.
In short, if you have the time and money to visit the settings of your books, then by all means, go for it. But if you can’t, there are plenty of ways to make your story sound authentic without breaking the bank.
Field Rules is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here: