I love trivia. The more arcane or weird an item of info is, the better for me. When TRIVIAL PURSUIT first burst onto the world stage in the 1980’s no one wanted to play against me. Le sigh…..
Because I like knowing weird trivia facts, I lovelovelove research. My characters are all over the map with regards to their careers and knowledge bases. I’ve had doctors, veterinarians, tv producers, writers, lawyers, and artists, just to name a few. And for every book and different career choice, I’ve had to do a little research to ensure I was staying true to not only the character, but how their career fit in with the plot line.
Some of my favorite pieces of info that I learned from researching my books are:
- a cow has 4 stomachs
- the gestation period for a horse is 11-12 months
- a Coroner doesn’t have to be a medical doctor.
- the first digital camera was invented and used in 1975
- milk chocolate tempers between 87 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit
- White chocolate is really a chocolate derivative made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids
- the basic cake recipe for almost every baker is simple to easy.
Writers need to get things right in their work. In the past, publishers had fact checkers to make sure when an author added a piece of info into their story it was correct. Not so much anymore. But now, with the information needed at our fingertips, anyone can and should be a fact checker simply by using Google.
There are two reasons I am so anal about research. One is from a writing viewpoint, the other as a reader. A few years ago I read a book by a very well known and well paid romance writer who said that the hero was wearing Bausch and Lomb Blue colored contact lenses. At the time, I was a contact lens technician and KNEW B&L made no such lens. As a reader I was disappointed in the writer and the publisher for not fact checking that. (FYI, B&L now does make a blue colored lens in their disposable brand of lenses. Back when this book was written, they did not and would not for several years.)
The personal reason I am such a devout researcher has to do with my first book. It was about an ice skater who’d won 2 Olympic gold medals. When I was describing her winning routine, I spelled the move she made as A-X-L-E. Now, I skated for decades myself, but never knew the word when used in this skating context was spelled A-X-E-L. An agent I’d sent the manuscript to also happened to be an ice skater on the side. When she saw how I’d misspelled the word, she wrote me back that she never read the rest of the book because that mistake questioned my credibility as a writer of the subject to her. Lesson learned. The hard way.
So, research. Fun or tiresome? You already know my answer.
Since this is a blog hop, lets see what the other authors have learned from their book research: