Thursday, March 12, 2015

How Do You Research?

Okay, so how do you research your book?
I don’t write historical or paranormal so I can’t address how they do it. I once said to a friend who wrote historical, “I don’t know how you do it, making sure all the details of the 18th century are accurate.”
She responded, “And I don’t know how you get all your information accurate for crime and legal stuff for contemporary romantic suspense.”
And I thought, maybe she’s right.
How do I research for my contemporary romantic suspense?
I take a lot of workshops. I’m taking one right now on Creating Cop Characters by a police officer who worked his way up from patrol to police chief. I’m always taking workshops on anything suspenseful. Do you take workshops? Are they helpful?
I read. I have books on Witness Protection, Legal situation, Serial Killers, Police, Forensics, Drugs (and what to use to kill someone) and a bunch of others.
I also contact resource or PR people in different agencies and ask questions. They’re usually very good about replying.
I also belong to writing loops (Kiss of Death and Crime Scene) and I post questions and someone always has an answer.
When the book is finished I try to get someone with expertise on what I’ve written to read it and critique to make sure my information is correct.
Whatever you write – how do you research?


  1. I believe that I was born to research. I grew up amid the stacks at the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, MD. I could pick up random books and discover something new at every turn. Then I discovered the source material they kept in the basements. Letters, diaries, and notes that others used to write their books. I then traveled to Washington when I was old enough and began prowling the National Archives, the Smithsonian, and the Library of Congress looking for more.

    I went to law school and learned the art of researching. How to challenge every resource and opinion, looking for those that agreed and disagreed.

    My wife feeds me material. She finds source documents for me. She knows that the way to my heart is through stories, real stories.

    I write historical fiction. I create fictional characters for readers to dress themselves in so they can participate in real events and meet real people, real heroes, and real villains.

    When someone tells you that truth is stranger than fiction, believe them...

    1. Good comments on researching, Jack. And on challenging your sources. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your information.

  2. I do tons of research on ancient Egypt for my paranormal romance series. I have quite the library of scholarly tomes and gorgeous coffee table picture books...but I do introduce a few deliberate anachronisms into the novels, not to mention the gods actively taking part in events. I want the story to feel as 'real' as I can make it though.

    1. Ancient Egypt - how cool. And the perfect setting for a paranormal series. It sounds like you do a great job of making the story feel 'real'.

  3. Research is tricky for all situations. It's like trying to please the world.