Experiences in Research - Deep Down, Underground

Let me start by saying that I’m a bit claustrophobic. When I travel, I always look for the exits, and I cannot abide the feeling of being trapped inside a place. So, you can imagine that I really did not want travel 650 feet underground to do research for DEEP DOWN (book one in the Sam Stone series) – but, how else would Stone and Jenny know what being trapped underground felt like? So, I took the plunge and did it.

I did it for you, my readers! (Okay, maybe not just for you. Maybe it was just a little bit because my husband said I was too scared to do it. And, ladies, you know we have to prove our husbands wrong when they say something like that!) No joke though, when I started the ride down to the mines, I was anxious and uncomfortable. At first, it was hard to get past my fear, but after a while I soon discovered that being that far underground was a very unique and rewarding experience. It was all quite fascinating and the experience of going that far underground provided the basis for some very realistic scenes in DEEP DOWN.

The trip began with a mandatory safety film. Imagine, if you can, sitting there in a darkened room as they begin talking about what to do in the case of an emergency, heart pounding, trying to convince yourself that, yes, you really did need to do this for your research. The safety film was very informative, even going so far as to tell visitors just how many tons of earth and rock would be hanging over their head once they reached the tunnels far below (this did not help with my quickly accelerating heart beat, I can assure you). Then, visitors were issued hard hats for safety reasons - at which point, I again wondered what I was doing going so far out of my comfort zone just for the sake of research.

Hard hat firmly in place, I boarded a small, metal, completely unlit lift that would take me the 650 feet below ground. The ride down was swift, and done in total darkness. It was so far down that my ears popped on the way. When the lift opened, I could immediately feel the different in both temperature and air quality. These differences were not something that I could have imagined, or successfully written about, without experiencing them myself. In a matter of minutes, my fear was forgotten, and I began to enjoy the experience. The rest of my visit was wonderful, and I would do it again. In fact, I highly recommend it to others who like a little adventure in their lives.

A big thank you to the staff at the Strataca for providing such a wonderful experience! You all are wonderful! And, by the way, Stone thanks you too!

(Yes, I took this photo myself on location! Pretty impressive, huh?)