My favorite scenes in LADY LISSA’S LIAISON, a sweet Regency romance set in England against a backdrop of fly fishing along the Dove River, are when Lissa and Gabriel are near the water’s edge.
Every moment spent in the woods with my father when I was young is poured into those scenes along the Dove River.
Pictured at right is the two of us oh-so-many years ago, i.e., "the good old days!" Hanging behind us on the wall can be seen the bottom half of several of his hand-tied flies that he used for fishing.
It was great fun 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 fishing 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 piece. The night fishing scene in this book is based on my father’s knowledge. In fact, it is my dad’s “Midnight Caller” that Gabriel utilizes when he goes fishing for a certain trout.
Research for the book 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 40-minute drive on pavement and another 30 minutes on dirt roads -- and then we left his Jeep behind and walked. 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, my dad has us turn off our flashlights. He said the fish can see the light at night and are unsettled by it. So I trusted him completely and followed him through the pitch-dark night.
My dad knew exactly how many steps would take him from one section of the fishing hole to another. He’d created landmarks to help 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 rattlesnakes soaking up the heat from the rocks. :)
My dad passed away the November before 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. (And as I write this, I can’t help but imagine him night fishing!) Below is an image he took of his favorite trout stream.