But if you write mysteries, and you don’t cook, bake, garden, own a shoppe (yes that spelling) that sells every imaginable trending food product, books or plants, hobby or sport, does that mean no one will have any interest in what you ‘know’?
It seems so in the traditonal publishing world because too many stories are rejected because the publisher doesn’t see a big enough earning potential even if they liked the story. I’m sure that the reason authors love to read articles about other authors who have had hundreds of rejections and then when they are finally published sell billions, is because they can imagine that author’s satisfaction while laughing all the way to the bank. And who doesn’t love to read those editor confessions of how they suffered when they realized they turned down a book that sold ca-jillons.
Well, my answer is: you and your story sound more authentic if you do stick with what you know. How often have you read a book and it sounds like nothing but research? This happens too often when you live in a place which is the setting of a book and find all kinds of location flaws. Or you work in a field where the details of the job are generalized and the lingo is incorrect. We think in terms of doctors and lawyers being the ones who get hit the most, but it happens in all fields.
I ‘know’ the travel industry—worked for two airlines and two travel agency companies--and I rarely read mysteries that involve a murder during some kind of travel experience. Like a passenger on a tour bus taking over the tour after a murder. A group taking all the rooms at a small hotel and the escort claiming to have the checks ready to pay the hotel on check out. The murder causing people to want to leave the hotel or group, and someone promises them a refund. Or no mention ever of cancellation insurance. An airline airport agent, inviting a client to sit down at her desk. Uh huh. NOT.
If anything ever happens to an escort, the bus driver (also an employee of the tour company) would get in touch with the company to send a new escort. The bus would never move until that escort arrived. Letting anyone from the group takeover is a law suit waiting to happen. Yes, you hear or know someone local saying they are escorting the group, but that’s a different story and I’m not writing about people who know how to get freebies.
Any group booked into a hotel, big or small, pays in full 60 days before arrival. If you are wondering about conventions, which seem like huge groups, they are set up for the individual attendee to make her own booking. Notice they always demand a credit card, and have a cancellation policy which can be anywhere from 7 days to 24 hours before arrival. Cancel within that time period, and you card is charged the cancellation fee. Oh, and the book that had the escort paying for the group at the end had one person wanting to leave, and the escort telling her she’d get her refund after the group arrived home. NOT. No refunds unless the clients have purchased cancellation insurance, and ‘a murder in the group she was traveling with’ would be a special consideration by the insurance company, and we all have a good inkling of how insurance companies think about anything outside the rules of the policy.
Lingo for an airport agent would be, the agent signaled to the next passenger to approach the counter. No client, no desk at an airport. Yes, desk is used by some people, but not airline employees.
And destination cities, believe me, anyone who works in the travel industry has a completely different view of destinations, from what to see or do to where to stay and how to get around. And their opinions have nothing to do with what they will say to a client/passenger about the place. (a perfect example of how capable human brains are in compartmentalizing with abstract thinking.) J
Personally, I can’t think of any place on Earth I’d call exotic. Not that I’ve been everywhere, but where I’ve been sent to learn about an exotic place, we were taught about ‘the business’ of selling it, and that puts a damper on being dreamy eyed about visiting. Personally, I think Paris is disgusting, Venice stinks and Rome is a hell hole for breathing. On the other hand, Bayeau and Monte St Michele and the Sorrento peninsula are wonderful. I’m extremely fond of London and Amsterdam, and had a good opinion of Berlin. Yes, they all have traffic problems too, but they have modern roads.
So my books: Downsized To Death, about a travel agent in Portland OR facing downsizing just prior to 9/11 because the internet was taking so much of their air travel business and the airlines were cutting commissions is based on what happened to my office. The murder of the manager, some may say might be wishful thinking for many office personnel, but it didn’t really happen, though our company did have a shooting at one of its offices when an agent was shot at by her husband. And Brownstone Burial is about becoming an airline reservations agent in 1963, before computers, and renting an apartment in a brownstone, which is based on many of my experiences, but, no I don’t see ghosts and our building was not haunted.
Brownstone Burial: Amazon http://amzn.to/1P0dLs1
Downsized To Death http://tinyurl.com/mafqqda
So what special knowledge do you have that you’ve seen misinterpreted in mysteries?
Patricia Gulley is a retired travel agent, and did time at two airlines as a reservations and fares agent. She knows what it takes to get people on those great adventures. Born in Pennsylvania, escaped to New York, then headed to Oregon, she lives in a floating home on the Columbia River.