Today we welcome J.H. Bogran as our guest blogger. José is a fellow ITW member and also serves as ITW’s Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and a contributing editor to The Big Thrill. Enjoy his thoughts on research.
Just like Tattoo in the opening of Fantasy Island, I’m always excited about planes. I still recall the first time I boarded an airplane, how the Flight Attendant—I learned to call her “stewardess” back then—showed the 10 year old me how to buckle up the seatbelt, where to find the vest and how to inflate it. Excited as I was, I distinctly remember thinking it was a bit silly to go through all these regulations for a flight that lasted twenty minutes. Again, I was ten. But hey, back you could even light up a cigarette while in flight and the armrests had built-in ashtrays. Nowadays they have volume controls and 3.5 mm jacks for headsets.
With the years came more trips, longer ones, but the little thrill remained. I’m afraid my fascination with jets has transpired into my fiction. The opening chapter of TREASURE HUNT deals with the kidnapping of a Boeing 727 in mid-air, a demand for ransom, and a getaway that included a daring parachute jump, not unlike D.B. Cooper.
Back in 1997, while doing the bulk of the research for Treasure Hunt, I took advantage of the then-pioneering Internet mostly populated with corporate sites that listed their general information. I was lucky to find that Boeing took their site seriously and had pages and pages dedicated to their current and older models. Altitude, range, velocity, cabin configurations, even pictures of the instruments in the cockpit, all I need to know about a jetliner to write a novel was there. You can read the resulting scene here.
As if that was no enough, in my second novel FIREFALL, the life of my main character takes a twist for the worst when his wife and son perish aboard, you guessed it, a plane. I’d say it has a different approach from the previous work because the accident depicted this time is loosely based on one in real life that happened in 1972. I was born that year, but it has nothing to do with that decision, honestly. Suspense Magazine did me the honor of posting the aforementioned scene as an excerpt in their blog.
In fear of becoming “that author that always writes jetliner accidents,” I made the deliberate decision of not including a major scene aboard any aircraft in my current work-in-progress. Well, okay, I confess there is a very short one where the main characters arrives to New Orleans, but only because it was more convenient for him to fly there than to drive all the way from Houston!
As you can deduce, I love research. To me, that’s the fun part of beginning of a new project. Or maybe I’m just a frustrated pilot, or a pilot-wannabe as the current way speaking goes. It’s a fact that I can’t start the engine of my car without having plotted the entire route to my destination in my head. Something my wife is grateful for, especially during long trips as she hates reading maps as much as I hate a GPS device ordering me where to turn.
So, how about you? Do you have any pet-peeves you’re always finding ways to write into your stories?
About J. H. Bográn
J. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He’s a member of the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributor editor their official e-zine The Big Thrill.
Website at: www.jhbogran.com
Facebook profile: www.facebook.com/jhbogran
Facebook author page: http://on.fb.me/ZJwEq0
Goodreads author page: http://bit.ly/1a9d07V
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jhbogran