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Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Research is Fun When You Shoot a Gun

     I've been thinking about book research a lot lately, probably because I am knee deep in it.  With my first novel now published, I dove head long into writing a new, yet unnamed, apocalyptic series.  Although I love this genre, it has required me to do a bit more "formal" research than I had to for my first paranormal, fantasy book since I can't make the world up as go along.  Writing in reality is tough!  Lol!

     After a fair amount of internet research the other night (on cities, locations of Army bases, and the contraction of diseases), I came to the conclusion that I am exceedingly happy to be an author in the time of the internet.  Finding the three largest cities in Mexico and a small boarder town in Texas took me grand total of about 3 minutes.  (Thank you Google Maps!)  I love the library as much as the next girl, but I can't imagine the laborious process research must have been for “preinternet” thank you!

     And now to the real reason you've clicked your way to my blog today...research as recreation.  In a post-apocalyptic world what is your best friend?  Yes, you guessed it, your firearm.  Well, enter your gun shy, baby squirrel saving author...yours truly.  How am I supposed to realistically write as a gun toting bad ass post-apocalyptic heroine?  Well, I guess I gotta learn how to shoot.  And that my friends was today's adventure.

     A good friend of ours took us out to the shooting range to meet with his buddy Pjete (yes, with a j) ;) who is an instructor.  As I stepped onto the range, I'm not going to lie, I was nervous.  I was trying very hard to play it calm, but if you know me, then you know I was talking a mile a minute!  After going through the safety info, he handed me the orange training pistol.  He talked me through the correct way to stand and I was thinking this isn't so bad, I can totally do this.  Then he showed me how to hold the pistol and aim.  That's when I saw the gun wobbling in my hands.  Mind you this isn't even a real gun yet and here I am shaking like a leaf.  I just kept hoping he didn't notice.

     After a quick lesson on how to load the magazine, I stood back and watched my buddy fire.  I was pretty sure I could do that.  I'm not much of a girlie girl, so how hard could this be?  Pjete looked over at me and told me I was up.  After having to explain how to place my left hand over my right about a bazillion times, (I think I finally got it.)  I fired off the first round.  Honestly, I wasn't exactly sure of what to expect as I fired the first shot.  It was loud of course, but kind of exhilarating too.  You get a serious feeling of power, but it's also a little nerve racking knowing that you're holding something that could seriously harm, or kill someone.  Once the final casing popped from the chamber, I tilted the gun so that he could see it was clear.  I'm pretty sure I had held my breath the entire time because my lungs were happy to take a long slow one as I walked back to the table.  I had survived my first foray into firearms as had everyone else around me.

     Pjete was kind enough to spend an hour and a half taking us through the paces.  The more shots I took the less tense I was.  I can't say I was ever relaxed; in fact I was happy for the continual step by step instruction each time I was up.  Tell me where to stand, where my thumbs go, remind me to chamber the first bullet, and then tell me when to carefully squeeze the trigger....I needed all of it.  I'm sure everything would become easier if I continue to shoot, but baby steps are good.

     Toward the end of the lesson, we got down to the real business at hand, book research!  Since this newest book is set in a time after most of the human population is gone, society isn't as well behaved as it is today.  Lawlessness is rampant and a girl stuck in this mess has to defend herself….right?  Like I said earlier, Danella can take care of herself and knows her way around a gun.  So Pjete had me lie down on my back and shoot like my life depended on it.  No words can describe how that felt.  Just watch the video.

     And just in case that wasn’t enough, I got to walk up to an “attacker” shoot them down and then shoot while retreating too. 

     Although today was all about book research, I had a lot of fun.  It was really neat to try something new that I probably never would have tried if I didn’t need to for the book.  I might have even found a new recreational activity that I never in a million years would have thought I’d enjoy.  A big thank you to Pjeter Berishaj with Black Mountain Defense, he was an awesome, incredibly patient, instructor.