Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bookshelf: WORKING FIRE


Remember back when I was writing the proposal for this second Suds Club Special Edition book that I’m in the middle of writing now? It’s the story about the fireman, and I had the terrible job of going to a local firehouse to do research. I know—it was just awful following my guide (yes, he was hot) around and asking questions. I even brought my little nephew, and he enjoyed climbing in the engine to mess around while I asked more questions.

To bolster my research, I also read WORKING FIRE by Zac Unger, and it was another one of those research “chores.”

This was actually a really fast-paced book full of funny anecdotes, poetic descriptions, and touching emotion. At the time, Unger was a new firefighter in Oakland (and what do you know? My fictional setting, Placid Valley, is located near the bay area.), and he details what it was like to train at “the tower” (what we know as the fire academy) and to be a “probie” (a “new guy” who has to suffer the slings and arrows of the veterans as he or she learns the ropes).

This was a helpful read, not only because of the location, but because my hero has just left his probie days behind. Not that Unger resembles my hero that much—Travis Webb is more your picture of a firefighter who makes your jaw hit the ground when he walks by while Zac Unger proclaims proudly in the book that he has no butt to keep his pants up—but this glimpse into why he loves his job and how he improved at it was enlightening.

Next up for this story’s research? A Chinese tea ceremony. You heard me. My heroine came to America from Hong Kong when she was thirteen, and I have a good friend to thank for that information. Mei Chang Webb is inspired by this friend, and the book will be dedicated to her as well as the firefighters who keep us safe every day.

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