For starters, it was the patience of these two:
|Mom and Dad, enjoying the ride on what used to be a military vehicle.|
If you're going on a research trip, you must, must, must, must, MUST go with people who understand what you're doing, and who don't mind doing things like cruising through the high school parking lot:
In the past, you guys have talked about feeling awkward doing research, and I've been like, "I know, but you just have to suck it up, and do it." Well, I had to tell myself that same thing a few times while we drove through the parking lot of my character's high school. It was a Saturday, but there were still some students milling about. Not only did I snap a couple pictures, but I took video, and I felt acutely aware of how creepy I might appear.
Somebody braver than me would have gotten out and walked around, but I just rolled down the window and snapped some shots.
The great thing is we live in the time of Google Street View, so I knew I didn't have to walk through the town square trying to capture every store front because that's already been done for me. The most important thing was soaking up the people around me and the energy of the town.
But I didn't drag my parents just to high schools and grocery stores and a crazy amount of kitchen shops. We also went to Bottega - a fabulous restaurant in Yountville - which has many similarities to my MC's family restaurant.
|This is by far the coolest waiting area I've ever seen. I actually cheered when the hostess said we would have to wait about 10 minutes for a table.|
|Taken out the back of the vehicle, those yellow containers hold freshly picked grapes. They're headed for the winery where they'll be sorted.|
|And this is Christian taking pizza out of the way cool pizza oven they built. The pear-and-blue-cheese pizza is totally making it into the book.|
This is the first research trip I'd done, and I loved every minute of it. From fumbling around in the bakery in Healdsburg as I tried to figure out how to place an order (why do some restaurants make it so complicated to figure out their system?!?!) to exploring the Culinary Institute campus to exploring the chef's clothing section in Shackford's.
All my exploring completely refreshed me, and I'm eager to get back to my story. We all feel "creatively dry" sometimes. What refreshes you?