I have to admit, one of my favorite things about being an author is having an excuse to do kinds of crazy research. In the name of fact-finding, I’ve ridden with Harley biker gangs, explored the tunnels underneath Hoover Dam and found an interesting recipe for Mamma Coalpot’s Southern Skunk Surprise (I’m still working up the courage to try it).
This latest book, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, is no exception.
It was a blast to write, and I learned a valuable lesson too: be careful what you put on paper…because it may just send you to some, ahem, unusual places. See, I write about a reluctant demon slayer forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches. Add that to the fact that I tend to write what amuses me and you have a recipe for trouble.
When I was writing the end of my first book, The accidental Demon Slayer, this joke about Las Vegas popped into my head and I thought, “why not?” Lizzie is just about to kiss her man when she’s interrupted and told she and the gang have to head to Las Vegas to save her long lost uncle from marrying a succubus. Kind of fun. At least it made me smile. I was an unpublished writer at the time.
But then the book sold. Better still, The Accidental Demon Slayer hit the New York Times bestseller list. My publisher wanted more. Heck, I wanted to write more. I remember being on the phone with my editor and she said, “so you’re going to Las Vegas, right?”Oh yeah.
I admit it. I had these images of cool hotels and shows in my head. Then reality hit. I write about biker witches and a preschool teacher turned demon slayer. These folks don’t have a lot of spare cash lying around. This wasn’t my trip – it was theirs. Good thing I like odd adventures. And my friends do too.
One in particular – my friend Aileen – is a sucker for anything strange and unusual. So I talked her into a long weekend and we headed to Vegas to see and experience the biker witch version of Sin City. We stayed in the cheesiest hotels we could find. We ate at Bob’s Big Boy. We even visited a dude ranch with armadillos, a boar and several very old chickens.
We were able to talk our way into some behind-the-scenes places as well. The climax of The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers takes place inside the Hoover Dam, and we were lucky enough to be invited to see first-hand what I’d be writing about. A guide took us far down into the inspection tunnels they used in the 1930’s and 40’s, when the cement was still curing. It was amazing to see the notes these inspectors made on the walls, to hear the stories of those that didn’t quite make it out and to walk the same old metal steps that they did. All of that made it into The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, along with lots of things I had a blast making up (this is fiction after all).
To continue the fun, I’ve developed a highly un-scientific
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