A Different Kind of Cruise Ship Research

In my last blog, I wrote about my temporary neighbour “Sunshine”, who laid the foundation for the character Montana in the manuscript I plan to finish this year. It all began with him saying “Well, I’m never going to meet you again, so I might as well tell you this …” His words sparked my curiosity about people who bury remnants of their past, just as Blair did in ‘The Road to Alright’ and Marcello hid in ‘The Park Street Secrets’.

I wondered if others could enhance the new characters in my 4th novel (start date: 2024) by sharing a sliver of their lives, so I recently did some research on a cruise ship (part of this book takes place at sea). The corporate office’s ‘Customer Intelligence Team’ allowed me to invite passengers to share their most valuable relationships, life fulfillments, biggest regret(s) and finish Montana’s sentence: “I’m never going to meet you again, so I might as well tell you this …”.

Participants submitted their answers verbally, by email, or in sealed envelopes (most anonymously) at the Guest Services desk before the cruise ended. The last option required security clearance to ensure that nothing valuable, illegal or secret documents would be stored in the ship’s safe before I picked them up. To un-complicate things, I confirmed there were no “secrets” inside the envelopes – well, sort of …

To those guests who took the time to answer my questions, I am deeply grateful to you. When I was a nurse, many patients humbled me by their resilience; reading your responses gave me goosebumps, and many brought me to tears. Thank you so very much for taking the time to do this – I truly hope to honour your efforts by creating another great read …

With good wishes, especially to Craig,



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