Learning How to Screw & Nail: Researching Handymen & Carpenters
When Kade and I started plotting Wood, Screws, & Nails, we ran into a bit of an issue. See, as much as I (Piper) like to watch HGTV for hours on end, the fact was, neither of us knew a thing about remodeling a house—so how exactly were we supposed to write about a contractor spending a summer doing exactly that? Well, like any other author, we researched. First, we decided who would be writing what. Second, we discussed just what parts of the remodel would be featured in the book. Then, well, we used our Google-fu and started watching videos and reading articles. I learned how to replace and re-stain crown molding. I watched how-tos about patching drywall and using a miter saw. I looked into tools and timeframes and even how to strip tile off shower walls. Kade did the same and even talked into one of his carpenter friends. And in the end, we came out the other side more knowledgeable and better prepared to dive into our story.
So, after all that research, how much of what we learned actually made it into the final book? Well, on my side, very little. More than anything, it was important to me that I knew what Aaron and the others would be doing in any given situation. I watched several videos about crown molding and staining new pieces to match undamaged older stuff and how to install it. But we were writing a romance, first and foremost, not an instruction manual, so I had to figure out how to incorporate my new knowledge without making the scenes boring or too technical. I mentioned that Malachi was using a certain tool to remove the old molding. I talked about Aaron stopping his miter saw and taking off his goggles. Little things that showed, yes, I’m aware what tools he would be using to do these repairs. Small touches here and there that added realism to a scene without making it an info-dump or like we were writing a guidebook about home repairs.
Hopefully, in the end, we accomplished our goal and the book seems realistic for any of the handy people out there who read it. I’m writing a spin-off to Wood, Screws, & Nails right now, and the MC is a contractor also, and Aaron’s best friend. Thankfully, there are a few hot contractors on HGTV I wouldn’t mind watching for several hours for more “research.” It’s a hardship, but, well, someone out there has to do it. 😉
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Aaron Costa’s summer was all planned. Despite having to remodel the family lake house, it would be a vacation of sorts, and he had every intention of enjoying it—until the friend who was supposed to help him got injured and left him in a lurch. He decides to take the opportunity to bond with his son and hires Julian and his roommate, Malachi, to assist.
As a broke college student, Malachi could use the money, and spending the summer with Aaron for eye candy sounds like a dream. “Look but don’t touch” becomes his motto. But when Julian starts flaking on his responsibilities and Malachi and Aaron are forced to spend long hours alone together, their mutual attraction is impossible to resist.
Aaron can’t fight the temptation sexy Malachi presents. But more than their age difference stands in their way, not the least of which is Aaron’s semi-closeted status and the fact that he’s never openly discussed his sexuality with his son. He has no idea how Julian will react when he learns his father is not only gay, he’s also dating his best friend.
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two thousand book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.
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Kade Boehme is a southern boy without the charm, but all the sass. Currently residing in Seattle, he lives off of ramen noodles and too much booze.
He is “the epitomy of dorkdom”, only watching TV when Rachel Maddow or one of his sports teams is on. Most of his free time is spent dancing, arguing politics or with his nose in a book. He is also a hardcore Britney Spears fangirl and has an addiction to glitter.
It was after writing a short story about boys who loved each other for a less than reputable adult website that he found his true calling, and hopefully a bit more class.
He hopes to write about all the romance that he personally finds himself allergic to but that others can fall in love with. He maintains that life is real and the stories should be, as well.