The five Ws should be found in any type of story. Of what use would an account of a crime be without stating the who, what, where, when and why? Maybe the facts are not found in the first paragraph like a newspaper account but eventually the reader would be given the particulars, otherwise there would be nothing left to tell; the facts are an integral part of the story.
The same premise holds true for both fact and fiction. You’re reading about a person entering a room; what does he see? The two-seater airplane is ready for takeoff and the bad guys are right behind the hero and the beautiful woman he just rescued. Enemy fire is closing in on our couple and they reach the plane just moments ahead of the advancing hail of lead. What does our hero do to get off the ground and into the air? A couple goes to an elegant, expensive restaurant for a romantic night on the town. The gentleman slips the maitre d some cash, and the maitre d seats them. Where? What do they order? If there is music in the background, what is being played? What are they wearing? Did I mention this town that they’re in is Rio de Janeiro?
When reading a work of fiction do you just assume that the author knows everything? Jerry was fond of the books of a particular writer who was popular a number of years ago and still is until he caught her in a series of gun errors. He figured if she hadn’t checked her accuracy in that field, how could you be sure she was correct in others? He totally gave up on her because he could no longer believe a word her characters said.
Today, with the help of Google, you can get information on just about everything, but as to how good or bad that information is, can be dubious. Getting expert advice can sometimes be challenging. When the majority of our books were being written such as the TAKERS, THE YAKASA TATTOO and the SURVIVALIST series, the internet was not available in the Ahern household but hard copy reference books and a telephone were. We had and I still do have a pretty good reference library but tracking someone down with the specific information you need and talking with them and asking them questions is still the best way to go.
I remember spending hours talking with a person who was knowledgeable in the rites associated with Voodoo and getting straight which Loa would you need to help you in various situations and which were good and which could really make a bad situation worse. We had a lady who had spent her life as a missionary help us with the nuances associated with the Portuguese language which would differentiate one class of person from another. We got to know her rather well and would spend time over at her house learning a great deal from her about the various cultures surrounding the Amazon. We killed people (only bad ones, of course) and saved lives through various medical procedures as told to us by physicians, piloted nuclear submarines and fought the Japanese mafia all with a little help from our friends.
I just want to thank you all for the help you have given over the years, not just for our books, but for all books, to published writers and someday soon published writers. Without your knowledge and insight, we may not have had the courage to include topics that were a stretch for us to even imagine. Without being able to talk and discuss with you that which you know far more about than we do, we may never have thought of the various twists and turns we were able to include in our stories. Thanks for listening to our stupid questions and not laughing too much and for not changing your phone number or email address because you thought we were stalking you. Hopefully, some of us have been able to take from you and pass it on, inspiring others to learn more.