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Sunday, July 6, 2014


By Sandra Nachlinger, Guest Author

One of the most time-consuming (and interesting) things about writing a book is the research that goes into it. When writing BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY, hero Derek White's wife disappeared and he eventually had her declared legally dead. But I wondered . . . exactly how does that work? Hello, Google! It turns out that laws vary from state to state. Generally, several criteria are used to determine if someone is presumed dead.

Missing from their home for a certain period of time (Typically seven years)
Unexplained and continuous absence
No communication from the person
There has been a diligent but unsuccessful search for the person

Since BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY takes place in Texas, I researched laws for that state and did my best to accurately reflect what I found. Of course, if the "deceased" person returns, that brings up another set of problems to look into!

In my first book, I.O.U. SEX, co-authored with Sandra Allen, we researched drowning. What happens when someone drowns in a swimming pool? Do they turn blue? Do they sink or float? What about if they have a heart attack and then drown? Exactly what do the paramedics do when they arrive on the scene? We discovered the details through an interview with a paramedic and through online searches, and we incorporated our findings into the story.

The last thing any author wants is for a reader to put down her book because of a factual error. So although research is time-consuming and takes away from writing those delicious love scenes, it's essential for believability and realism. I just hope the FBI never has a reason to confiscate my computer and look into my Google searches! What would the agents think about my fixation with drowning, heart attacks, and missing persons?

     When Elly moves to Shannon Ridge, Texas, she expects to fill her days helping her grandmother—doling out medications and running errands. Still smarting from her fiancĂ©’s  betrayal, the last thing she needs or wants is a man, especially a good lookin’ one. She’s been down that road before.
     Derek White’s wife left him without a word, and he’s reluctant to make the same mistake twice. But Granny Macauley’s granddaughter sure is tempting. He still doesn’t understand why Jeanette left him, so how can he explain that to another woman? And can he be sure he’s legally free?
     Granny says some things come along only once and you have to grab them while you can. But when Derek’s past threatens and Elly’s ex-fiancĂ© reappears, she must decide—give her former love a second chance or gamble on a man whose history may ruin everything.
BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY and I.O.U. SEX are available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.

I.O.U. SEX Blurb:
When June, Kiki, and Peggy graduated from high school, all three were virgins. After all, they were GOOD girls. Years later, they read June’s diary from their senior year and joke about the sexual frustration they caused their steady boyfriends back then. That’s when Kiki says, “When you think about it, and I’m only trying to be fair, we owe those guys sex.” With bawdy jabs and tipsy laughter, they vow to track down their old boyfriends. Will their sexual IOUs be paid in full? Or is this just another one of Kiki's crazy ideas?

Sandra Nachlinger, Author

      Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Sandy has been writing one thing or another since childhood. She still has diaries from her school days, one of which inspired her first book I.O.U. SEX, co-authored with Sandra Allen.
      Besides Dallas, Sandy has lived in Irving and Beaumont, Texas; Miami, Florida; and now Washington State. During her years in the work force, she was employed by a “wildcatter” oilman (a real-life J. R. Ewing); a plastic bag factory; a NASCAR race track; a CPA firm; an electric utility; and a bunch of other less interesting places. Her stories have appeared in Woman’s World magazine, Sasee magazine, and local publications. People tell her she still has her Texas accent, but she thinks they’re the ones who talk funny.
      When not writing, Sandy likes to quilt, read, sew, garden, take photos, lunch with friends, and (like Granny in her most recent book, BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY) spend as much time as possible with her granddaughter. She also enjoys eavesdropping on conversations at restaurants, parks, and other public places, so be careful what you say around her. It may end up in her next book!


  1. Sandra, thank you for sharing with us on this holiday weekend.

  2. Sandra, nice to have you join us on this holiday weekend! I, too, recently researched how to have someone legally declared dead. Research is time consuming but tons of fun. ;-) Enjoyed your blurbs and look forward to reading BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY.

    1. I enjoy research too -- maybe too much! It can suck me in and take up hours of time that should be devoted to writing.
      Thank you and the other Smart Girls for welcoming me to your blog.

  3. Hi Sandra, Researching is half the fun of writing a story. I'm sure most writers are on government lists for the things we continually look up! LOL I am always looking into drug trafficking and weapons for my action adventure series. And methods of killing people for the mysteries.

    A good author does her research. Good luck with your books.

  4. Hi Sandra, I enjoyed reading your post. I agree, researching a novel is always time consuming, but I love research as well. Your story sounds fascinating, I look forward to reading BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY.

  5. Research is one of my favorite things to do, but sometimes it does get in the way of actually writing the book. When do you decide enough is enough? And do you find interesting tidbits that change the direction of your story?

    1. Those are tough questions! I guess I decide "enough is enough" in the same way that I decide to quit tinkering with word choices in my story, and that's when I just finally declare it done. As for adding interesting tidbits, so far I haven't found any that have changed my stories significantly. It's tempting to share everything we've learned, isn't it? But none of us want our research to come across as educating the reader or preaching. Luckily, I have some great critique group members who'll let me know when I've crossed that line.

  6. I really love the research aspect of writing. Not so much for my current book, Confessions of a Corporate Slut but the one I am trying to get published now required hours and days of research into the bull sperm industry, stats and interviews with victims of sexual harassment, insurances clauses as they pertain to accidental death vs suicide and the laws regarding such; courtroom language and psychological profiles too! It was so interesting and really enriched the story. Enough to me is when you have enough real information to move the plot forward:)

  7. Great post! And an important part of the writing process...thanks!

  8. Hi Sandra,

    Researching one particular aspect of something or someone, always leads from one thing to another if you are me, to the extent that simply replying to one blog comment, then visiting the commenter in return, can take forever.

    God forbid that I should ever have to put pen to paper and write a book. That would just result in information overload, for both myself and the potential reader!

    Almost all the authors I have either interviewed or quoted, have decreed that you should always write about things, or craft a storyline, about something you know. Whilst this might well be true, I would always advocate research as the fundamentally most important starting point for writing a storyline which the reader is going to engage in and sign up to!

    Interesting post and some engaging comments, thanks for sharing.



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