Sunday, February 23, 2014

Research Me This . . .

Until I began seriously pursuing romance writing, I had no idea how little I truly knew about the world.

No, seriously.

I’ve lived in the same small town in SoCal my entire life. The town may have grown some, but many of the people I interact with on a daily basis are the same people I’ve known since elementary school. Let’s put it this way. My graduating class was a whopping total of 155 people (or thereabouts). You could say, I’ve lived what my hubby calls, “a sheltered” life. I admit it, and fully embrace that I will never be an adventurous person. I’m okay with that. Really, I am.

But the stories I write are definitely not okay with my lack of worldly experience. My characters constantly beg me to include believable details to help build rich settings and authentic characterization.

So what’s a girl to do?

I could become an adventure-seeking adrenaline junkie, but I have a terrible fear of heights. And my anxiety of driving off alone into lands unknown has left me staring out the window, wistfully wishing I could take a road-trip without getting lost every ten minutes. But alas, it’ll never happen in my lifetime.

Besides, since I mostly write romantic suspense stories about murderers and other such heinous people, I’m pretty sure the local law enforcement would seriously frown on me even touching a gun, let alone committing the kinds of crimes my characters do.

Instead, I am forced to turn to the Internet and YouTube. Even writers who aren’t writing historical fiction or non-fiction texts have to do some sort of research to bring a touch of authenticity to their books. I just have to do a little bit more than the average author does. 

Here are some of my more recent Google searches: 
  • Process for being arrested
  • How to post bail
  • How to shoot a gun
  • Types of guns
  • Private Investigators
  • Cigar basics
  • Parrots (types, colors, and Do they cuss? The answer is yes, yes they can! Shamus is Jack’s foul mouthed African Gray Parrot)
  • Scotch (the drink, not the tape)
  • How to ride a horse
  • Funeral Service rituals for fallen law enforcement officers
  • Classic cars
  • Dirty Harry
  • Gumshoe detective novels
  • Burlesque clubs & dancers
  • Benjamin Bratt photos (inspiration for Mateo, a hunky ex-Marine you’ll get to meet soon)
  • Gerard Butler (total hottie & inspiration for Jack Gaines, from Assassin P.I.)

 So what about you? Have you ever wondered how your favorite author knew so much about a particular topic or locale? What crazy topics have you had to look up to ensure you got things just right?

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