By Jody Bailey Day
The internet makes it so easy to find out anything about anything. That was the case as I researched such issues as Child Protective Services, Cancer, and Suicide for my book called Joy Express. I had all the details I needed to craft the story, but it just felt hollow.
I called my friend Michele Huckaby, a licensed professional counselor, and picked her brain. The same information relayed by a warm, caring person gave me the perspective I needed to put warmth and compassion to the story.
My current work–in-progress is a historical fiction rendering of a real life woman. Annie Riggs was a pioneer matriarch of my West Texas home town. There are plenty of history books and newspaper articles to flesh out the details, but many of her family are still living. Talking to them was an eye-opener. I was not admonished to change anything, but to hear “that is conjecture and hearsay” about certain events, and to see the concern in their eyes sent me back to the drawing board. I had to decide whether relating those events, even in a fictional way, was important enough to cause discomfort to family members. I have to live in this town, after all. The book is not a biography, and since my goal is to highlight her faith and pioneer spirit, I decided certain things did not need to be related. It’s all in the history books, anyway.
These experiences have led me to seek out more “human” research than just internet, books, and newspapers. Research with real live people gives one a sense that’s there’s more at stake, more behind the story than just jots and tittles.
Jody Bailey Day is an author who looks at life through love-colored glasses. Her passion is inspiring people to live a life that embraces who they are in Jesus Christ. She writes poems, articles, devotionals, and novels from West Texas, where she is President of the Fort Stockton area Critique Café. She is a member of ACFW and Faithwriters.com. Her poems and articles have appeared in Mature Living, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Christiandevotions.us, EveryDayPoets.com, and Splickety Magazine. She has published the Washout Express Series with Pelican Ventures and has published a devotional, H.E.A.V.E.N, a Handle for Storms of Life, and Yellow Bottom Bob, a children’s Autumn story and activity book. She’s a musician, music teacher, and loves black-and-white movies and TV.