Out And About: Never Stop Observing

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Today, I'm at 318 in Geneva. What a great atmosphere where local artists display their work and people gather with friends in this quaint, but lively, coffee shop. It has an upbeat vibe that offers friendly conversation in the downtown area on Third Street. 

Exploring new places and observing people is so important in writing. Watching how people interact with friends, business partners, co-workers, and even children helps develop authentic characters. 

I was asked during a question/answer segment of one of my presentations if it was difficult to write the appropriate words and authentic voice of five-year-old Anna in The Fifth Floor. "I have over forty nieces and nephews, which places me in a semi-perfect situation," I light-heartedly laughed. "When I need to validate an authentic voice of a certain character," I continued, "I visit places, watch TV programs, and read certain books. I observe, listen, and research until I think I have it right."

Yes, the fact that I've been around just about every age group my entire life, with nieces and nephews with ages ranging from weeks old to 46 years, has helped tremendously. But family is not enough. I take notice everywhere I go: in stores and restaurants, in neighborhoods and at church. If I travel for business, I take notice. On vacation, my notepad is ready. 

So if you see me at a cafe or out and about, stop and say "hello".

Our conversation, between author and complete stranger, might be needed for one of my future books.