To develop experiences is why authors take weird vacations, snoop around in unexpected places, interview police detectives, and are just plain curious about everything, including what makes folks tick. Who else would sit in a bus terminal, or a mall, and write down descriptions of the way different people walk? And yes, people do walk differently when they are in certain places. Or sit in a coffee shop and make notes on how people talk? Not the content, but the speech patterns and general impression each speaker gives.
For example, I have a notebook that is just for ideas, and it includes methods of speaking and walking and how people use their hands. It includes lines from movies that impressed me, and bits of scenes from movies where I describe what was happening in detail. Like the scene in Michael Keaton's Batman, where he is trying to tell her who he is. He practices several times. Never gets it done, but it's an ideal example of what a man goes through when he's trying to get up nerve to ask a woman to marry him.
I write sweet romances, thrillers, and westerns. My books are always clean of sex and swearing, and have been read by kids as young as 13. My westerns pull ideas from research, from my great grandmother's journal that she wrote after coming west on a wagon train, from other books and movies, but a lot of it comes from first-hand experience. I grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch, rode horses from three years old and onward, often from sun-up to sundown, herded our cattle to and from the mountain pastures, helped in the branding, cooking, milking, pig chasing, varmint shooting, tractor driving, and fence fixing. Later I took an outward-bound course and learned survival swimming and mountain climbing. These all provide little nuggets of detail that I put in my stories, such as the swimming scene in Spirit of a Champion, making them more authentic.
I got the idea for The Bravest Woman in the Town through research. During the Civil War, the southern women smuggled guns and boots and other items out of Union controlled Nashville, by hanging them on hooks worn under their petticoats. I cast my Trahern man as a spy, and got them both into trouble. Research is also why I've had people ask me if I came from Texas, which I didn't. I've lived in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. Other places I've visited, like Puerto Rico, helped me write Songs for Perri and Height of Danger. The web is full of detailed, sometimes eye-witness, information.
My great-grandmother's journal was the basis for the first Trahern story, and I've used information from it in other stories. I just finished the 13th book of that series, which takes different members of the same large Tennessee family (and their cousins), and brings them west. I've had them travel by wagon train, horseback, stagecoach, train, ship, farm wagon, and walking part way. In my most recent release, #13, The Sunniest Gal from Tennessee, Mary Trahern goes west on the train, which was just united (almost) to reach from coast to coast. I say almost, because they had to get off the train at the Missouri River and cross the river on boats. Of course, she only has enough money to get to Cheyenne. Doesn't know anyone. Doesn't have a job. She can shoot a gun. Let the fun begin.
Nancy Radke is an Amazon best-selling author with over 25 books on her shelf. She loves to write romances, but wants more than just the romance to fill the story, so usually has some sort of dastardly deed being committed. A touch of humor here and there and usually an animal will join the book somewhere along the way. She has four series, The Sisters of Spirit (9 books), The Brothers of Spirit (1 book), The Traherns (13 novellas), and a DVD picture Bible series, The Show & Tell Bible, which has 1500 pictures in the first two volumes. Also 3 non-fiction teaching books, published in print form.