One of my readers asked me how much research I do for my books. I thought you might be interested in what I told her. This is basically what I said....
The research varies, of course. I did a Caribbean cruise about 5 years ago, so I had that as an actual experience [as the basis for Angela and Antonio in books 2 and 3].
But because my cruise was 7 days and this was 14, I went online and looked at cruises and cruise ships .Antonio can afford a luxury cruise, so I chose that type of ship. I looked at layouts of the ship and the staterooms and suites. I found an itinerary and used that for the timeline. I looked up day trips at the various stops, and read the reviews, looked at photos, etc. Then I decided which ones I might have gone on (and yes, chocolate is my drug of choice, LOL).
At that point I combined my own experiences (the Batik factory and some of the restaurants and beaches) with what I had read online. Some of what I wrote is based on the reviews and descriptions I read, and some on my own real-life experiences and impressions. Some of it is totally fictionalized.
I try to make everything that could be fact-based as close to the truth as possible. But of course some of the excursions I haven't personally experienced, and some of the people are not based on real folks.
However, I do enjoy sharing new information I find out, such as the origins of the use of chocolate.
And I am planning a few trips in the near future for "fact finding" - such as a trip to Costa Rica in the next year or so. Also, I will use some of my own previous experiences in the series I'm planning next.
I hope that answers a few of your questions....