Thursday, February 11, 2016

To Readers: Did you know every book is researched? Guest Post by Jodie Toohey, Author of Taming the Twisted + Giveaway!

Please join me in welcoming Jodie Toohey, author of Taming the Twisted, to A Literary Vacation! She's sharing with us a great guest post on the research that goes into any writing project. Please enjoy and continue after the post for  more information about Jodie, her book, and how you can enter to win a copy.


One of the questions I’m usually asked when I talk about my novel, Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters, is, “Have you ever been to Croatia?” I have never been to Croatia. But I found photos of the area of the country in which my story took place and used those while writing. I also have a good friend from Croatia who I spent several afternoons with talking about Croatia and her experience during the civil war there in the early 1990s. With her permission, many of the descriptions and storylines from Nada’s story came directly from her.

With a story like Missing Emily, it is probably quite obvious that at least some degree of research was involved. But what some readers may not realize is that there is some degree of research involved in every book, even poetry collections. For example, I wrote the vast majority of poems in Crush and Other Love Poems for Girls while I was a teen or pre-teen (although they went through extensive revision before going into the book). To find the poems, I went back to my writings and journals from that period of my life and harvested the poems I’d written at that time. I also went to the bookstore to see if there were any poetry books for pre-teen and teen girls; finding none, I went ahead with the idea.

I completed similar research for my other poetry collection, The Other Side of Crazy. When I journal, I often simply write down whatever comes into my head, sometimes without even realizing the words have any meaning. I also write down snippets – one or two poetic lines. When I was putting together the initial poems for that collection, I reread my journals to look for material. I had some poems that were poems I wanted to include, but I also found poems. Some of them resulted from the random musings I didn’t find any meaning in until I went back and reviewed them. Some of them were spurred by the snippets, either into their own poems or combined into a poem.

For my latest novel, Taming the Twisted, though I grew up in Camanche, Iowa, I had to research to take it back in time to 1860. I completed extensive historical research through books, newspapers, and the internet, covering Camanche, specifically, but the time period and Iowa generally as well. I also completed character research wherein I searched for and found old photographs of each of my main characters. I kept them on a magnet board in front of me as I was writing, so I could always keep their appearances in mind.

I also took a “walk the ground” trip, as shown in the photos. I went to Camanche, parked, and walked nearly five miles over all the areas where my characters would have walked. I had a map of as near to the time period as I could find and superimposed the current street names and landmarks. I took photos and many notes, finding the exact spot of my main character’s home and the places she frequented. This research was invaluable because it helped to crystallize the setting in my mind.

When you talk to authors, you will likely find that in addition to enjoying words, writing, and stories, they also enjoy research. With a well-crafted book, the research may not be obvious because the research will be weaved in with the story so well, it might seem as if the author had been there. But they may not have; it may just be a result of extensive and quality research. As you think back on what you’ve read, what are some books you think must have been researched, but they were written so well, it wasn’t obvious?


Publication Date: August 15, 2015
Wordsy Woman Press
eBook & Paperback; 242 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Taming the Twisted is written in a similar style to Laura Ingalls Wilders’ Little House books though updated for modern times. It might read as if she’d left in all of the juicy tidbits about things people didn’t talk about during the time when she was writing. Taming the Twisted is a story of destruction, romance, mystery, and deceit set against a back drop of an actual historical event.

In early June, 1860, Abigail enjoyed a peaceful home life with her parents, younger sister, and twin toddler brothers. Their home in Camanche, Iowa, where they’d emigrated from Pennsylvania, was almost complete and her beau, Joseph Sund, had recently proposed marriage.

That changes the evening of June 3rd when a tornado rips through town, killing her parents. At the mass funeral for the over two dozen people who perished in the storm, she learns Marty Cranson, with whom Abigail witnessed Joseph having a heated argument, died, but at the hands of a person rather than the tornado.

In addition to being faced with raising her young siblings, Joseph has disappeared without a trace and a stranger, Marshall Stevenson, appears, offering to help Abigail repair the families’ home and cultivate the newly planted farm crops.

Abigail, while developing romantic feelings for Marshall, tolerating the scorn of town woman Pamela Mackenrow, and working as a seamstress and storekeeper to support her siblings, becomes obsessed with finding out who killed Marty, hoping that and not that he no longer loved her, was the reason Joseph left without saying goodbye.

Buy the Book

About the Author

Jodie Toohey is the author of four additional books, two poetry collections – Crush and Other Love
Poems for Girls (2008) and Other Side of Crazy (918studio, 2013) – as well as two novels, Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters (2012) and Melody Madson – May It Please the Court? (2014).

When Jodie is not writing poetry or fiction, she is helping authors, soon-to-be-authors, and want-to-be authors from pre-idea to reader through her company, Wordsy Woman Author Services.

Find out more about Jodie on her blog and website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Giveaway Time!!!

Thanks to wonderful Amy at HF Virtual Book Tours, I have one paperback copy of Taming the Twisted up for grabs! This giveaway is open to US residents only and all you have to do is enter your name and email address on the giveaway form HERE. Please be sure to enter BOTH your name and email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.

If you would like extra entries you can follow me on various social media sites (links are on the right hand sidebar) just be sure to leave the name/email address you follow with on the giveaway form (I check!).

That's it! I'll pick a winner on February 18th and the winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I have to pick another winner.

Good Luck!!

Giveaway Rules 

You must be 18 years old to enter

Only one entry per household

All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

Taming the Twisted Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 8

Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Spotlight & Giveaway at Rambling Reviews

Tuesday, February 9

Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, February 10

Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, February 11

Guest Post & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

Friday, February 12

Review at Back Porchervations
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Monday, February 15

Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Tuesday, February 16

Review at Book Drunkard

Wednesday, February 17

Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Thursday, February 18

Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, February 19

1 comment:

  1. Using a random number generator my winner of a copy of Taming the Twisted is....Carl Scott! Congrats, Carl, I'm off to send you an email for your mailing address!