Friday, October 07, 2016

The unexpected consequences of research...

I'm writing a book - nothing new about that, it will be my 66th for Harlequin Romance. There was a time when if I wanted to know anything I went to the library and either spent a few hours in the reference section or brought a pile of books home.

Barbara Cartland once said that she read twenty books for background research for every one she wrote. I've certainly come close, not only writing about somewhere I haven't actually been, but even when I'm writing about somewhere I've been more than once.

These days it's all so much easier.

My hero owns a fleet of commercial aircraft (not that big but it was the only picture of an aircraft I have a licence for).

I needed to get a feel for them, what they carry and so I Google aircraft of all shapes and sizes. I have to create a fictional range of aircraft so I need to check out my ideas against what models are already in production. Cats of all sizes are very popular, I discovered. I need to know how fast they fly and some information on how many hours you have to fly to maintain your licence. Actually I didn't need that last one in the end but a lovely man from a flying school took the time to explain it all to me.

I needed a Mediterranean island to inspire the creation of a brand new kingdom and spent several delightful hours surfing through Pinterest and the 'net.

I needed a villa by the sea, a very special beach, a hot spring and it's all but a click away.

I'm writing a paragraph and I need to work out when my heroine's baby is due. I Google a "due date calculator", check the size of the embryo and Bob, as they say, is your uncle. Not mine, actually. I had a James, a Charlie, a Harold, a Victor and an Albert. No Robert.

So these days, when I pop over to Facebook, because that's what you do when the word flow stops and the brain needs time to download the ideas as that have lurking in the back of the brain, the 'bots have been knocking themselves out. Along with the usual ads offering me courses on how to sell my books and grow my email lists, I have advertisements offering me pregnancy "counselling", nursery furniture, Italian holidays, villa rentals and light aircraft.

Life, as they say, is never dull!

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