Last Saturday I attended the Vegas Valley Book Festival. I set up my booth in the Young Adult section next to a woman that had written a paranormal book that had either won or been a finalist for three different awards. One of the biggest things she focused on when speaking about her book was the amount of research she had done into the world of the paranormal. She was ver proud of having written a book that blended fantasy with reality and focusing on fantasy aspects other than witches, vampires and zombies.
I listened to her discussing her book and kept coming back to the research part. When I wrote Never Give Up I called on my own knowledge to get the details right. As a former dancer and someone that has loved the city of Chicago for decades I knew both parts extremely well. I was able to simply visualize places I had been and share my own memories of rehearsals, performances, even the devastation of hearing about an injury that could take it all away. They were just parts of my past.
Rescue Me again required only minimal research and for that series it was more that I needed to find the charities that I would be contributing to. With all of the stories and poems being submitted there was no need to look further into them. It was just a matter of formatting and creating the cover art. I am happy to be creating the series though once the current four are released I will be taking a break from them.
Survivor was another book that I did very little in the way of research for. Because it is based on my personal story of fighting back against domestic violence I struggled because of the emotions involved but I knew the story inside and out before a single word was ever written. This got me thinking about working on a book that would require more in depth knowledge about a subject. I would like to have stories to my credit that can demonstrate that type of dedication and research ability as well as the creative imagination that comes along with writing fiction.
My nano novel from last year Welcome to Syn will have a small amount for the sake of verbiage but little else. I do have two different stories that are going to be set in the northern ghost town of Pioche Nevada and because the are historic there will be a number of items I need to learn about for those. I want the language to flow correctly but also the setting to be true to the times. One is a love story and I need to make sure because the characters are from different classes I have to make sure I represent that as accurately as possible as well. The last one I need to focus on is Annora. That one I believe will be difficult because it is about human trafficking which is a subject I don't even want to think about. The character is very vocal and her story is one I believe should be told so I will write it but it is a dark topic I am not looking forward to learning about.
Research makes our stories more realistic and following the patterns and information we gain can help bring our readers into the story. It is just a matter of making sure we do enough without going overboard and loading the book down with unnecessary facts.