Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Write what you know. Really? by Jan Scarbrough

Write what you know. Really?

So, you want to write a book. Then write what you know, you’re told. Well, what I know isn’t much. Should I limit myself to that? Once a psychic told me I couldn’t dare write about a psychic because I wasn’t one. Guess what? I wrote a story with a psychic medium in it.

My friend Dale, herself a psychic medium, said this about my book: TIMELESS is a beautiful love story that intertwines two different lifetimes, and Jan has done an incredible job of introducing reincarnation and numerous other ‘Spiritual gifts’ that we all possess in a clear and concise way that will help you to understand the possibilities, even if they are not in your reality yet.

So there, psychic, who said I couldn’t do it!

Several years ago, I wanted to write a western romance. What do I know about a ranch? About cowboys? I live in the city. In Kentucky. I know a little bit about American Saddlebred horses, because I’ve ridden them since I was thirty-five. The easiest thing for me to research was the Professional Bull Riders organization. I joined the club. I attended local PBR events. I read books. I watched documentaries.

I brought my bull rider home to Kentucky in KENTUCKY COWBOY where he hooked up with his high school sweetheart.

The research helped when writing BRODY. He is a bull rider too. But he’d grown up in Montana on a ranch. I still didn’t know anything about day-to-day life on a cattle ranch. I read a book for background. But what was the easiest kind of ranch to write about? A dude ranch! I surfed the web and found one in Montana and that became the fictitious setting for my series, The Dawsons of Montana. MERCER, another book in the series, has bull riding hero named Drake.

Then in 2016, my husband and I took a vacation to a real dude ranch in Montana. I got altitude sickness and rode a horse up a mountain. I experienced it. Still, I was not an expert. But that area of Montana became the setting for another western series called Ghost Mountain Ranch.

Emily Temple in the article Should You Write What You Know? 31 Authors Weigh In, tackles this whole subject of writing what you know. If you’re interested, check it out. Thirty-one authors, much more famous than I, give you their opinion on the subject.

BTW, BRODY is on sale this week at Amazon for 99 cents.


Timeless -

Brody -

Dawsons of Montana -

Ghost Mountain Ranch -

Kentucky Cowboy -


  1. Thanks, Liz, for having me. Your blog site is very nice! Congrats!

    1. Thanks for coming, Jan! A great first Wednesday at the Window.

  2. Good photo, Jan. I enjoyed the blog post.

  3. Very interesting article! Here's a little twist on the thought process. In one book I wrote a reviewer read me the riot act for naming a radio station (mentioned in passing) with the wrong call letters. Apparently one part of the country has K and one has W. But, since I didn't know that, how could I research it? In other words, how do you know what you don't know? Your post was very thought provoking! Thanks for sharing it, Jan and Liz!

    1. Oh, I did the call letter error once, too! Fortunately, maybe, the story never sold.