Until recently, I never realized, or at least never spent much time contemplating, how much research authors do. Like most people I assumed their storyline and details came straight from their demented little minds. And for the most part, I suppose they do. But to truly make a story come to life, there has to be some grain of truth sprinkled throughout.
Redemption For Liars is set in Texas, a state I have only passed through while on a summer road trip to Illinois when I was 18. Cowboys, lax gun laws, and summer heat was the extent of my knowledge of the Lone Star state. Pretty soon I found myself in a real pickle where I was trying to describe a landscape I had never set eyes on before. What kind of trees were commonplace? Just how do you mount and dismount a horse? My memories are rusty at best, and non-existent at worst.
To help fortify my story with details you could actually believe, I googled details, read up on the rankings of FBI agents, watched youtube videos, picked my husband's brain for dusty memories, and made phone calls to my friend who really does live in the wonderful state of Texas. Tedious? Absolutely. Fun? Not so much, unless you count chatting with a friend.
But sometimes research can be fun.
Some authors take trips and call it research. Other authors explore new hobbies in the name of research. Last night I went to a Vintage Bombshell make-up class held by the fabulous Makeupgrlz.
Research, of course! My new work-in-progress has a vintage noir feel to it. Think 1940's detective genre. My hero is a jaded private eye and my heroine is a burlesque dancer. Hence, I needed a better grasp of all things bombshell. Makes sense, right?
The make-up artist walked us through the stylings of the 20's, 30's, 40's, and 50's. Sixty bucks later, I came home dolled up in lush lips and fake lashes armed with knowledge and new make-up to play with. While I may still not be an expert at applying eyeshadow or the perfect winged eyeliner - and I probably never will be - at least my character can be simply gorgeous!
See? Sometimes research really is just downright fun!