Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On the Road with Abby and Frazier

Most of the time when I'm writing, I'm downstairs behind closed doors working on my laptop, trying to stay afloat in a stormy sea of words. When I come up for air (usually about lunch time) I like to do a little research.

It's pretty fun to head out into the world to find places for the characters in 44 to interact and socialize. I've found that scouting out these locations for chapters is an awesome perk of of the job. 
It involves hiking local trails, checking out parks and spots along the river, and throwing back a few brews at popular pubs here in town. Just this last week I was over at Deschutes Brewery, "researching" tasty items on the menu. It's hard work, deciding between the hop hummus and pork tacos and then having to make a choice between Chasin' Freshies and Jubelale, but fortunately I'm a professional and am willing to do what it takes. 

Because Dark Was the Night is set in Eugene, I knew I had to take a road trip. So last spring I talked Mr. Jools into going west so I could jot down a few notes and soak up the moist atmosphere of the city.

As we headed out, I started taking pictures. This is the road where Abby and Detective Ellis Frazier first begin to bond as they drive toward Eugene. I like this chapter a lot because Abby is leaving her home and heading into unfamiliar territory, which serves as a nice metaphor.

Even though it's a bit painful to put this shot up of Autzen (the Ducks did a total beat down on my Bruins this weekend), it had to be done. Students who live over at the Duck Village apartments (like Emily Ross) cut through the stadium's parking lot to get to campus.

After a little while, I came to the part where the path winds through trees. It can be a popular trail full of students, but it also can be empty at times and plenty creepy. As I walked, I knew that this observation about its isolation couldn't be mine alone....

And then the trail opens up as it reaches the bridge that crosses the Willamette River (another scene from the book).

Needless to say, even on a nice day this bridge is a bit spooky. I guess that could just be my overactive imagination, but then again.....

After a long afternoon of observations, it was time for research at a local pub. Afterwards, I was feeling recharged and sleepy at the same time (good for creative juices I'm told) and called it a day. Research would have to start up again in the morning.......



It was a fantastic trip to Eugene but alas, it was time to head back home.

For the next Abby Craig Mystery I'm thinking about a story set in Maui. Of course, I'll need to do plenty of research. The idea came to me yesterday morning after waking up and looking outside.....

Hope you all have some fun Halloween plans in the works!



  1. Thanks for the pictures! They really do compliment the story, especially the path and bridge. And of course you need a story set in Maui; research is needed there! ;)

  2. Hi, Win!
    Thanks for checking out the blog!
    I'm going to save you a seat on the plane...:) A lot of research will be required and I could use a little help....
    Happy Halloween and hope you've got some fun brewing up for the weekend!

  3. What a fantastic post, Jools! It was so much fun seeing all the places in the book. That bridge looks especially creepy (you described it so well, lol)! Can't wait for book 9!

    1. Hi, Meg Muldoon!
      Thank you SO much for these kind words! I loved doing the photo layout...it was a lot of fun. And thanks for being such an excited fan :) Book nine is in the works!

  4. LOVED the pictures! I'm 62% into the book and seeing these now is exactly how I pictured it when reading! I'm telling you….I want to move to OR so bad when my hubby is out of the Navy. I've vacationed most of my teenage life up to Coos Bay camping every summer. About 4 years ago we drove from Fallon, NV to Crater Lake area and then into Coos Bay for 2 weeks of camping and I was sold on OR. I haven't been to Eugene or Bend but those two towns are on the short list. I think a family vacation is in order soon so we can scope it out! Maybe next summer. And hearing that both are less that 3 hours from each other is wonderful! I love reading the 44 series because it really gives me a feel for the area.

  5. Hi, Jen!
    Thank you SO much! It was so fun reading your comment here and that you were able to see the pictures as you were finishing up the book. Kind of like a slide show :)
    I think you will love living in Oregon when you guys get here...it sure is calling out to you and I bet you'll find a way before you know it. How fun to have camped out at the beach in your summers! I love that Oregon Coast too....
    Keep me posted on your plans!

  6. That was great seeing where you got a lot of your ideas for the book. Loved the pictures..Thanks...the book was very good.

  7. Hi, Donna!
    Thank you! It was fun to put together :)
    Hope you're having a great Sunday~