Research, even for a contemporary romance, can prove fascinating and absorbing. As an inveterate collector of ‘trivia’, I’ve amassed some priceless (and totally useless) gems. I know what times the trains run from Luxor to Cairo, I know what tiltmeters and geodimeters measure, I know it costs upwards of £14 million to produce a West End musical show.
For one novel (originally set in
America), I wanted my hero to be an expert volcanologist who went out to Hawaii, so I learnt all about and volcanic eruptions. When I re-set the story in Mount Kilauea England, Hawaii was too far away, so instead I had an interesting time learning all about volcanoes in instead. I’ve not become an expert on volcanoes, but I’ve collected a lot of fascinating information. Iceland
I find hotels, apartments, houses online in my selected locations and study them. I look at clothes on fashion sites (I HATE writing about clothes, by the way, but sometimes it’s necessary). There are so many seemingly mundane details which need to be researched to give my stories authenticity.
And this is where I have to say – thank heaven for websites! Without them, research would be so much more time-consuming. Imagine if every time you wanted to check on some obscure fact, you had to visit a library’s reference section. And I know – been there, done that!
In the days before the internet, it was so much harder. Once, in the 70’s, I wanted to set a novel at a college in
. Off I went to the library, found the names of a few colleges, came home, wrote polite letters asking for their prospectus, and six weeks later, if I was lucky, got the brochures. Now? Virginia college – click! It’s all there. Virginia
I LOVE internet research!