Before I decided to write romance novels, I always heard “write what you know.” So the first story where I actually wrote more than three pages took place in Boston (where I was born) and centered around a community theater. I know those things, and the story went along fairly well until I got bored and stopped writing.
My cowboy story takes place in South Carolina and Wyoming. I’ve never been to Wyoming. I’ve only been on a horse once in my life. I’ve been to South Carolina, but only either traveling through or as a guest of my brother. But today I had a chance to do something in my story: Ride a mechanical bull.
I’m sure the guy operating it didn’t have it at breakneck speed. I didn’t fall off, and there was a lot of shrieking and laughing. Mostly from me. Oh, and I realized why there’s always one hand in the air. This came after I had both hands through the rope holding on for dear life… and nearly fell forward when the bull’s butt bucked up.
In my story, the heroine is riding the bull and it’s in the hero’s POV. So there’s not much sensory additions, but I did get to give a more well-rounded version of what she was physically doing while riding. I almost didn’t ride it, also. But I told myself – it’s research. I should do it. Plus I had no reason not to, not after doing a blog post (on www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com) about conquering fear.
I roped the horn of a calf, too, but it was just a fake head on a sawhorse.
ETA: A picture!