My favorite scenes in LADY LISSA’S LIAISON are when Lissa and Gabriel are near the water’s edge.
All the moments spent in the woods with my father when I was young — and later with my son, Jason, and my dad — are poured into those scenes. The chapter that features Gabriel night fishing is based on my father’s knowledge. In fact, it is my dad’s “Midnight Caller” that Gabriel utilizes.
Research for the book included several hiking trips with my son and my dad. It also included a July night fishing trip with my father, which for me was a huge deal as I am easily spooked! We headed out at 10:30 p.m. for his favorite fly fishing hole, which is also in rattlesnake country. It was about a forty minute drive on pavement, then another half hour on dirt roads … and then we left the Jeep behind and walked several miles. Into the woods. In the dark.
Trust me, I wanted to turn around a few times, but it was absolute black woods behind me and my dad was up ahead, so I kept going! Once we neared the edge of the stream bank, the flashlights were shut off. The fish can see the light at night and are unsettled by it. My dad knew exactly how many paces would take him from one section of the fishing hole to another. He’d created landmarks to help him navigate the area during the dark of the moon.
It was an amazing night. By two a.m., I was no longer spooked by the moonless woods, the sound of a coyote calling in the distance, or a nightjar diving through the air. Instead, I was listening intently to all of the activity around me. We walked miles that night, sometimes right through the boulder run stream, sometimes picking our way around it. I fell a few times, but am glad to say I didn’t disturb any rattle snakes soaking up the heat from the rocks.
It was great fun to spend time in the woods with my son and my dad. It was also great to interview my dad and make use of his vast knowledge for Lissa’s story. He was an ardent sportsman and an expert fly fisherman who tied his own flies. I will always cherish the many hours we spent together talking about what type of fly Lissa might suggest Gabriel use in catching a trout, or what types of fishing rods might be found in Gabriel’s lodge along the Dove.
We also talked a long time about whether or not a trout would rise for a locket accidentally dropped into the water and, if so, the length of time it would take for a trout’s digestive juices to break down the jewelry piece.
My dad passed away just as Lissa and Gabriel’s story was being readied for ebook release. Every time I think about this beloved book, I think of him. I will miss him always — but how blessed I am to have had such a terrific father.
As I write this, I can’t help but imagine him night fishing…