Between the Lines: Interview with a Black Belt #JiuJitsu #BJJ #research #PNR #romance

No matter what time period my story takes place in, I always make every effort to ensure I am factually accurate. More than that, though, I try to make the reader’s experience as authentic as in real life. So when Beth Golden, the heroine in my upcoming release, Veiled Visions of Love (Secrets of Roseville #4), decided she needed to learn not only self-defense but Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I had to go on a hunt for more information.

I confess that I have never taken any kind of martial arts training. The closest I’ve come is watching demos and of course The Karate Kid. I know, right? So I asked around and found a friend or two who could point me in the right direction. Learn about the basic differences and such between the disciplines.

But then…the instructor turned out to be a woman with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. More digging to find out what she’d need to know, how long it takes to get that far, and much more. In my search I came across the Maverick Training Center in Huntsville, AL, and surprise…the owner/instructor is a woman with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I immediately contacted the Center to request an interview, and before long Suzanne Ramsden herself emailed me to accept. Much to my further surprise, the Center is located near to my house. The house where I just moved last year. Coincidence? Hmm…

A few days later we met for morning coffee at a local diner. Now, I had seen photos of her at the Center’s website, so I had an idea of who I was looking for. When she walked in, I recognized her immediately but was again surprised that she was rather petite, slim, and very muscular. She strode over to the table and ordered black coffee. Just like me. That’s where the similarities end though.

I had brought my list of questions and we chatted our way down the page, with me taking brief memory-jogging notes so I could write up my observations as well as her answers when I returned home to my office.

A few of the interesting tidbits she shared:

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is dominated by men. There are only a few women who participate and even fewer who earned a black belt like Suzanne.
  • Because Brazil is known for surfers and is located on the ocean, the sport attracts “macho men” and people who tend toward an outdoorsy mentality.
  • She was inspired by Bruce Lee and his philosophy of maximum efficiency in the smallest movements.
  • She had to overcome many challenges to succeed in reaching her goals. Just being a woman made the very macho men resent her presence let alone her achievements. Some coaches wouldn’t stand on the podium with her when one of her students did well, for instance.

I used my observations of her and the background information she shared to create two characters. First, Beth Golden and her struggles and successes with learning the sport. Second, black belt instructor and owner of Phoenix Training Center, Jo Walsh who has her own problems to overcome.

I learned a lot about the amount of time, effort, and dedication it takes to move up the ranks in Jiu-Jitsu. Next time I’ll talk about what I learned about the sport by watching a session for myself. Have you tried a martial art discipline? Or are you proficient in one? Any surprises you’ve encountered along the way that you’d like to share?


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Veiled_Visions_of_Love_600x900His search for a home led him straight to her heart…

Psychic Beth Golden longs to live the life of a heroine in a suspense novel but knows she’ll die of boredom working in the bookstore in the small town of Roseville. Until a pilot rolls into town on his motorcycle with a secret mission. When he introduces her to a whole new world of daring and romance, she’s captivated by a life style filled with unexpected and dangerous surprises.

Major Mitch Sawyer, currently serving in the Reserves, has lived all over the world and wants nothing more than to have his own home with a wife and family. Forced to complete one more airplane repo job before he can afford to resign his commission and make his dream a reality, he entices a sexy book lover to help him by becoming an undercover biker chick. Only Beth’s hunger for excitement endangers both herself and an innocent bystander. Can he protect them—and his heart—before it’s too late?

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