Hi, everyone, and welcome to Anna Zabo’s Daily Grind blog tour. Anna’s here to tell us a little bit about the research that went into the writing of the novel, so enjoy, and welcome, Anna!
Researching the Place Where You Live
One of the neat things about setting a book in the city where I live is that I can use my own experiences and everyday knowledge to flesh out the version of Pittsburgh in which Brian and Rob live. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: I still have to do research to make sure I get things right!
While I’ve been to many of the locations in Daily Grind, I haven’t been to all of them. Part of that is because I am not my characters, though little bits of me reside in them. Brian and Rob both love hiking, biking, and photography but I’m not as much of biker or hiker or artistic photographer as they are, so I really needed to do research on bike paths and routes as well as picturesque places to go hiking and take photographs.
That’s how I found out about the tours at Carrie Furnaces site. With Rob’s love of urban ruins, a site that contains the last standing non-operative blast furnaces in the Pittsburgh area would be like a siren for photography. From the photos on Flickr here, you can see why someone like Rob or Brian would be chomping at the bit to tour the place with a camera.
I’ve also not biked the Heritage Trail, but I have walked chunks of it, since it passes along the edges of the rivers in downtown Pittsburgh. During nice weather, a lot of the downtown office workers get out of their buildings and take a walk and I’m usually one of those workers. At one point, Rob and Brian stop at the Point State Park fountain, which I have a tendency to take photos of. Even though I’m familiar with that part of the trail, I still had to study maps to figure out a bike route for Rob and Brian to take to get in a decent bike ride.
Since Brian doesn’t own a car, I also needed to figure out the best paths for Brian to travel, because when you’re on a bike, the well-driven roads are often not the same routes you want to bike—because too many cars makes things a lot less safe for people on bikes. And we’ve had instances of people on bikes being hit by drivers, unfortunately. So Brian is very aware that he’s no match for a car!
Speaking of driving, one of the things that tripped me up even though I lived in the neighborhood where Brian has his coffee shop, is that the street he lives on is one way. I’d completely forgotten because most of the time, I was walking in Squirrel Hill. On foot, you don’t care which ways the streets go. At one point in the book, I had Rob driving the wrong way down that street. Small mistake, but anyone who’s ever lived in that part of Pittsburgh would know.
The thing about getting little details wrong is that those are the things that totally pull a reader out of a book and make the author lose credibility. That’s part of the reason why I still look things up, even in the city where I live—I’m not perfect and I want my books to be as authentic to their time and place as possible.
I do have to say, it’s fun to play tourist in your home city! There’s a bunch of places I now want to go visit because of all the research I did.
I hope folks like Brian and Rob’s Pittsburgh. The real one is just as nice.
About the Book
A man discovers that love can show up when you least expect it—and in a much different form—in this piping-hot romance from the author of Due Diligence and Just Business.
Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N’At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn’t have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he’d become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin.
As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob’s visits—to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in.
But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance?
About the Author
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow and believes passionately that happy ever afters are for everyone. Anna lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.