The first piece

question mark on silhouetteI’m getting to know Ames. Close to Iowa State’s football stadium is one of the largest public gardens in the state. With its butterfly wing and aquatic plants, the 14-acre Reiman Gardens might provide a place of solace for my character as he wrestles with his decision to attack. Or if he is a botanical student, he might do research there. Or the carillon might provide cover for sounds he wants no one to hear. I don’t know yet what role, if any, the gardens will have.

I’m an information gatherer. Regardless of what I write, I collect data. The Ames gardens, the nearest VA hospital, the layout of city streets. I don’t know what I will use until I have all the pieces. From these pieces, the place, the people, the plot and the purpose take shape. Each is a constantly shifting part of the mosaic. I discard and retrieve pieces, trying different combinations until they click. Ames, Iowa, is the first piece. Now, I need the city’s nuances and flavors, so that I could walk down the streets and feel like it’s home. It will be the current home of my American terrorist.

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