Monday, 14 May 2018

The Crazy Things I Do in the Name of Research

by Kendall Talbot



I'm so excited to have a new series coming out. My Maximum Exposure series is three stand-alone, romantic suspense novels all set in a wonderful remote location that I've visited. The first book, Out of Reach, is set in Mexico's Yucatan jungle. In 2017, I went to Chichen Itza, which is a 1400-year-old complex of Mayan ruins in the middle of the Mexican jungle. I found it hard to believe something so magnificent was abandoned and left to be swamped by the relentless creep of the voracious vegetation. But it was.



My visit to the temple was just one of approximately 1.4 million people who visit the ancient site each year. And whilst the bucket-list experience was truly incredible, it had me pondering how wonderful it would be to discover an ancient temple. That thought inspired Out of Reach.

Many scenes in my action-packed books are inspired by personal experiences. For example, a few years ago I was thrown from a rubber raft while white water rafting in Bali. I was sucked under, and in the few seconds I was trapped in the swirling torrent, I was completely at the mercy of the water. I clawed for the surface yet it was impossible to know which way was up or down. It was terrifying. In Out of Reach, I drew on those terrifying moments to bring life to my character's peril.





When I did a four-day mountain hike over Milford Track, New Zealand, my 18-kilo pack contained my food, water, clothes, bedding and, of course, blister Band-aids. It was a brutally challenging, yet utterly rewarding experience. This came in handy while writing about my character's battle through the Mexican jungle.



In the late 1980s, I visited Pompeii and it's still one of the most fascinating places I've ever been to. Back then we could get close enough to touch the artifacts and I always knew that those memories would feature in a book one day. Out of Reach is that book.

For my first book, my characters were lost in the Australian wilderness, so they had to eat some god-awful things to survive. One day, whilst digging in my garden, I found some witchetty grubs. I decided that the only way I could describe their taste was to actually eat these nasty-looking creatures. So that's what I did. Much to the disgust of my children, I ate the grubs both raw and cooked, just like my characters did. FYI cooked was much better.

So, whilst I've never experienced a plane crash, helicopter crash, snake bite, nor some of the other hell I put my characters through, I do try to experience as much as I can to give authenticity to my books.

eating snails


If you want, you can follow my travel experiences in my blog: http://www.kendalltalbot.com.au/blog

Out of Reach: When an ancient lost Mayan temple is discovered by a team of archaeologists deep in the Mexican jungle, Liliana Bennett is thrown a lifeline to a family mystery that's taunted her since her father's sudden death. Out now: http://www.kendalltalbot.com.au/outofreach.html











I Love to Love: good food and great wine. Bring it on.

I Love to Laugh: always. Especially at myself. I don't like to take life too seriously.

I love to Learn: anything. Learning doesn't necessarily mean something that has a certificate at the end, it can be something as simple as a new recipe, or a new word.

11 comments:

  1. Hi Kendall

    Fabulous post so interesting to her about the things you do I would never be able to do any of them LOL so that is why I read fabulous books and I can highly recommend this book I loved it from start to finish woohoo

    Have Fun

    Helen

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    1. Thanks Helen, now you can see where I got inspiration for some of the scenes in Out of Reach. I love drawing on those times when I write my books. I'm so pleased you loved it. Cheers to you.

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  2. Researching is half the fun of writing a book, isn't it, Kendall? 🙂 I'm in the UK at the moment doing just that (and loving every moment). I agree with you about the witchetty grubs - much better cooked. And about Pompeii - one of the most intriguing places ever! Really enjoyed reading your post.

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    1. Ahhh, it's not very often I find someone who has also eaten Witchetty grubs. Was your's for research too? I would go back to Pompeii in a heart beat. I loved it there.

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  3. My first comment disappeared, so...Take Two! You are far more intrepid than I am, Kendall. I say a big fat NO to witchetty grubs and white water rafting. Give me civilisation and coffee shops and art galleries and book shops... Having said that, I've also done a few literary tours which are terrific, following in writers' footsteps, which suit me very well and I learn a tremendous amount. Everyone has their 'thing', and we can benefit from your adventurous nature in your travels, via your books. Marvellous.

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    1. Hi Malvina, thank you for reading my post. I love any kind of tour when I'm travelling. There's always something to learn. I'm just lucky I can relive them in my writing. Cheers to you.

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  4. This series looks fab, Kendall! Love the cover. Love your post too.

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    1. Thank Cathryn, it's so exciting to have a new book out.

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  5. Congratulations on the new series Kendall. I enjoyed reading about all these wonderful experiences and could totally relate to your white water rafting experience as I was trapped under an overturned raft and hurtling down the rapids trying to get out from under it...and trying to keep my legs from getting caught up in anything in the river. It's truly the stuff of nightmares. x

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  6. Hi Kendall. Wow, what wonderful experiences! Though not quite on the same level as you, I do love adventure. My highlights are the glass-front/sides/bottom helicopter ride (with me in front seat with pilot) over the Grand Canyon. Some great photos from that. And the boat ride through the swamp lands of Louisiana - saw snakes and alligators there. Sleeping in the Bubble Hotel in Iceland (a round perspex bubble able to fit 2 people only and there are six bubbles in total) in the midst of a forest and staring up at the star-sparkled black sky was magical. Unfortunately the clouds and rain blocked the Northern Lights. But...do want to go back one day. All in the name of research, as you say!

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  7. Hello Kendall, it's fascinating to read how much you have experienced in the name of research. Thanks for sharing this.

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