I'm fortunate to have a large and diverse family. I count residents of the midwest, the east coast, the southwest, and the southeast among my siblings and children and nieces and nephews. We are teachers, nurses, tradesmen, public servants, engineers, scientists, and linguists. My father is a WWII veteran, and my mother's long teaching career started in a one room schoolhouse on the prairie. They are still telling us their stories.
My daughters, 24 and 20, are excellent resources on a number of fronts. Both are accomplished musicians, National Merit scholars, and recipients of more awards in their brief lives than I've received in over 50 years. The oldest is a geologist in graduate school. She was fortunate to pursue studies under one of the world's top paleontologists, and she has served as my consultant in developing the early naturalist/paleontologist Philip Farnsworth in Untamed Hearts and Undaunted Hearts.
My younger daughter gave me a brilliant and unique concept for Doctor Jedidiah Rutherford in my work-in-progress. She has worked as a guide for our county historical society, where she learned a great deal about frontier medicine during development of a special exhibit. She's also a gifted linguist and writer.
Dad is my ballistics and military history expert. Most of us are lucky to retain 30% of what we read. My father's retention is north of 90%. The man is a walking and talking encyclopedia (emphasis on the talking part).
I grew up with a posse of brothers and sisters, and their interests run from quilting to real estate to Civil War history to motorcycles. They might not realize it, but they've all contributed information and anecdotes to my stories.
I'm grateful to have so many interesting and accomplished people in my life. We each took very different paths, and that's a very good thing. Although they didn't know it at the time, they were accumulating life experiences and knowledge to help me with my writing.