Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Fair Game by Taylor Keating

UFI welcomes Taylor Keating Author of The Guardian Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

Addicted to Fact Finding
Less Addicted to Truth
By Taylor Keating

I was raised by a teacher librarian. On the surface, I’m sure that doesn’t seem like an earth-shattering revelation, but there’s more to the story.

My mother was also an amazingly patient single mom to four children, and broke up enough fights to qualify her as a referee for Olympic wrestling. She never beat us (although I’m sure she was tempted). Instead, she invested in a set of encyclopedias. Mealtimes became her opportunity to teach three argumentative teenagers and one small Afterthought how smart people fight. The first person who couldn’t back up an opinion with cold hard fact was sent to the bookshelf, including wee Afterthought. Our family arguments could have earned high ratings on reality television. We were before our time.

We thought this was something everyone did until our friends disabused us. Afterthought claims that having to explain this pastime to wide-eyed little playmates both embarrassed and permanently scarred her.  That may be true, but the tradeoff is that she’s really smart. Don’t mess with her when she’s playing trivia games.

All of us turned out to be good at research, although some of us used this talent for evil. I once convinced a jaded young cousin that Santa Claus does, indeed, exist, because Encyclopedia Britannica had an entry for him. Fortunately, (depending on your perspective), she wasn’t an enthusiastic reader and didn’t check past the heading.

These days, we’ve switched up Encyclopedia Britannica for the Internet and tossed our respective children into the fray.

But I’ve never learned to settle for fact. I see too many possibilities. In my world, facts are springboards for the imagination and I have a “friends with benefits” type of relationship with Wikipedia. I know how to verify my sources if I have to.

You want truth? You can’t handle the truth.

Well—maybe you can, but the truth is often boring and life is short. That’s why I like to embellish.  My mom says I’m creative. My writing partner calls me a big fat liar. (My cousin, btw, concurs.)

So I write paranormal.

When my writing partner and I decided to use a video game for our first book, Game Over, I was determined to make the “facts” work for the reader. I spent a lot of time running into a friend’s office to ask her IT questions such as, “Can we run a game using radio signals received from the brain?”

“As long as you add magic,” was her response to pretty much everything. And, “Have you tried looking it up online? Maybe the Japanese have cracked that nut.”

Let me tell you, magic is a storyteller’s best friend. Right after a thesaurus. And Google. Possibly the Japanese, too.  But when straight facts aren’t enough, summon the Wizard. (That’s a reference to the first book, in case you’re interested.)
My point is, you can’t make stuff up and put it in a story, even a paranormal one, without doing some background work. I do an unbelievable amount of factual reading, mostly from books with “for Dummies” in the titles. And Wikipedia.

Our second book, Mind Games, relied heavily on somewhat sketchy research involving the brain. Reading for our newest release, Fair Game, expanded to studies on how viruses mutate.

Mutating viruses, believe it or not, is something I understand all on my own, although I’m sure the professor who taught the course would be appalled to discover how I’ve twisted the facts in order to cross a computer virus with a live one. If only I could have gotten through university relying on my imagination this way. Those lab reports would have been a lot more interesting.

So, for anyone reading the Guardian series, you can rest assured that a plausible level of research went into these books. Then, we summoned the Wizard.

How much research do you like to see in something you’re reading? Does it depend on the writer, or the genre?
Taylor Keating is the pseudonym of writing team Catherine Verge and Paula Altenburg.

Catherine Verge
A multi published author in the romance genre under another pen name, Catherine is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Catherine can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love.
A maritime native and former financial officer, Catherine has lived all over Canada but has finally settled down in her childhood hometown with her family. Catherine also writes spicy romance under Cathryn Fox and Young Adult novels under Cat Kalen.

Paula Altenburg
The other half of Taylor Keating, Paula grew up in rural Nova Scotia knowing that at some point in her life she was going to be a fiction writer. Swapping Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books with her father guaranteed she wasn’t going to be the next Jane Austen, much to the dismay of her English teacher mother. A degree in Social Anthropology from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, again meant writing was the logical (meaning only) career path for her, although it did confirm her belief that learning is a life-long experience.
She now works in the Aerospace industry, which surprises everyone who knows her. Happily married, with two terrific sons, she continues to live in rural Nova Scotia but makes a point of traveling as much as she can. New York and Brussels are tied for her favorite cities of all time.
Find Taylor and her books
Fair Game
Guardian #3
 Video-game designer River Weston has seen her world torn apart. The streets of Earth have filled with looting, sickness, and fighting, but River knows that she is in a unique position to help. Drawing on her Fae magic, she creates a computer-generated program called Hollow Man, designed to protect humans during battle.

Worlds away, Guardian Chase Hawkins has finally returned to his own body after years of astral projection. His mission now that he’s back: retrieve River, who is walking a dark path without even knowing it, and strip her world of the technology that has brought it to ruin.

Hawk and his team arrive on Earth only to discover that River’s new computer program endangers the world all on its own. An old human virus has resurrected and mutated with a computer virus inside of Hollow Man, and it’s spreading uncontrollably. Hawk is convinced it’s too late to save Earth…but River isn’t ready to give up hope yet.

River and Hawk find themselves on opposing sides, yet drawn together stronger than ever before. But a future with both of them in it could mean walking paths darker than either of them could ever have imagined.
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  1. Good post on research. It makes sense that even the made up weirdness needs facts to make it plausible.

  2. The amount of research I would like depends on the book. It can spoil the flow if something contradicts facts unless that something is integral to the setting or plot. Then facts need to underpin it to make it seem real.

  3. Thanks for a great post! I always appreciate the research that authors do to make the story more authentic. Like Carol said, as long as the story flows and it's make to seem plausible, it doesn't matter if it's fact or fiction, or stretched, I usually can't tell the difference. I guess the main thing is that the author "makes" it fact.

  4. The amount of research I like depends on the book and storyline. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. The amount of research that I like to see done on a book definitely amounts to what the the genre is an what the book's storyline is because if it's a book that includes like says things that happened in the past with fiction thrown in then i wan to see some actual facts instead of all fiction. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Awesome giveaway!! Can't wait to read!!

  7. I like it to realistic if it referencing actual events. If its something the author has created then it just needs to seem real.

  8. It depends on what the subject's about.

  9. I like a lot of research, it shows the author put a lot of tme and energy into the story and wants us readers taken on a journey. I love knowing all the ins and outs and love coming away with new things I've learned


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