Research Is Not Just for Geeks!
Hi, my name is Cate, and I’m a research junkie. I admit it. I get carried away with research—or vice versa. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Case in point: a few years ago, my family vacationed at Key West, Florida. The island’s surrounded by a clear aqua-green sea and is so steeped in history, its streets almost seem like characters. While visiting a maritime museum, a story flashed in my head, and I spent the next two days in the Key West library copying old articles and letters while my family went parasailing and snorkeling. Do I regret it? Not in the least. I knew I wouldn’t be getting back there any time soon, so finding that information felt like unearthing sunken treasure! I was fascinated by the history of the wreckers, men who salvaged wrecked ships long before any diving equipment had been invented. All the careful research paid off. Soon Freya’s Bower will publish Angels, Sinners and Madmen, my historical romance novel.
No matter what genre I’m writing in, I always research some aspect of the story. Authenticating details help bring the setting into the reader’s imagination. A few stories are set in cities I know well, but others are in places that fit the story, or I wish I could go! Such as Hawaii, or in my WIP, Malibu. Adding authenticating details for locations I’ve never visited is easy. If the Internet doesn’t provide all the information I need, I send for a Visitor’s Guide to the city to learn its restaurants, museums, clubs and other hot spots. For Wilderness Girl, I had to brush up on my camping info, and learn a bit about recycled art. One of the worst pieces of advice to writers is: write what you know. How would anyone ever stretch the limits of their imagination following that adage? There would be no speculative fiction, no fantasy, no scifi. The writer would get bored silly in a hurry. And when the writer’s bored, so will the reader be.
So I say: Let your writing take you to places you only dreamed of visiting, or that might never exist if you didn’t create them. Your readers will thank you! And your imagination will reward you with more ideas.
Cate Masters’ novels, novellas and short fiction appear at The Wild Rose Press, Eternal Press, Wild Child Publishing/ Freya’s Bower and Shadowfire Press. The proud mom of three adult children, she currently lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, Benji the dog and their dictator-like cat, Chairman Maiow. Visit her online at www.catemasters.com and http://catemasters.blogspot.com, or follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts or Twitter: www.twitter.com/catemasters.