If you’ve read Screwing Up Babylon, you know that a sandstorm figures in the plot. I loved writing it, but it was a stretch because I’ve never been in a sandstorm. I did a lot of research, Googling sandstorms and watching them online. I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol—amazing movie which features a sandstorm (though that type of sandstorm is highly unlikely in Dubai due to the climate and geography).
My dad watched the movie with me. He used to live in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. (My dad has been everywhere. His travel advice is “don’t ask what you’re being served—it’s hard to eat sheep eyes in sauce when you know that’s what they are.”) In any case, when we saw the movie together, my dad pointed out various spots and gave me all the gossip about them. And the discussion morphed into his experience with sandstorms in other areas. There’s nothing like getting the details from someone who knows what a sandstorm smells like, sounds like, and even tastes like. Even more fun, he didn’t know I was asking him questions for my novel. Then, when he read it later, he found out how much he helped me—it’s like a gift I can give to him. And it’s a gift he gives to my readers.
BTW, the other day, I was reading an article that suggested that readers like to read about the personal lives of the authors they enjoy. To that end, if you’re interested, check out my blog, A Merry Heart, where I talk about the craziness that is everyday life. (For some reason that only the imps who run blogger know, my post on the wolf beater purse got posted here last week as well as on A Merry Heart. So, I guess that’s a sample for you.)
Here’s a sandstorm.