The first few chapters of the book I’ll be writing this fall take place practically in my back yard: rural Alberta (albeit, 80 years ago), so I took a day this week to visit the Bar U Ranch Historical Site, the fort at Fort McLeod, and the Nanton Bomber Command Museum. About 200-300 kilometers of driving. Because it was mid-week the crowds were low (hot weather might have kept some away, too), so I got to talk to the docents 1:1 and ask my questions.
The down side was: they wanted to talk about rural Alberta in the previous century (1800s), which I guess is what most people are interested in and what they’ve been prepped for. But with patience and the right questions, I got stories about the docent’s uncle who grew up in that era. A little clue, like: “they didn’t like to be called ‘cowboys.’ They were ‘range hands'” is a perfect detail to add to my book!
But one of the best parts was being able to climb inside a Lancaster bomber. It was a new plane in 1942, when my book is set, and ferry crews were flying them from Toronto to Derry via Gander and Iceland. My character is not going to get to the war by becoming a nurse (all heroines do that!!). She’s going to hitch a ride on a Lancaster!