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Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Michelle Polaris

Research--It’s Not Just for Bed Anymore

As an author, research comes in many forms. And information from many sources. Although I write erotica, most research I do is more mundane than the lurid imaginings of readers hearing about my genre of choice.

Last year as I wrote my futuristic post-apocalyptic BDSM romantic erotica, I tapped into the scientific know-how of my husband and two other scientist acquaintances willing to happily speculate with me about alternative energy sources, polar ice cap melt, world-wide volcanic explosions, and atmospheric poisoning for my story setting, 2067 Earth post environmental cataclysm. I consulted a Coloradoan friend about the flavor of the different districts in the city and locations in down town Denver to place the characters’ residence. Google, of course, turned into my best buddy finding me city and state maps to identify the perfect locale for a research laboratory as well as a rugged state park site to situate my portal to another world. Yes my book has a portal, ripped open by environmental cataclysm as a matter of fact. Another good friend talked to me about choices of explosives for a bomb my heroine needed to detonate. How big would the blast site be based upon the type of bomb I chose? How stable would the device need to be during transport? What would happen if the heroine needed to lob the device through air at the target? I plugged in a little gun research in this scene as well. For my character Roman I looked up slang in Appalachian America and descriptions of the Carolina mountains of his youth. And Google sent me in the correct direction for a quick and dirty primer on mountain climbing, which I needed for the climactic scenes in the novel. Not that the bomb wasn’t hallowing enough. I found a description of the entranceway to the Denver zoo and ended up using pieces of that in yet another scene.

Okay, I did spend time on a few extreme sex toy sites to choose the right gadgets for my Mistress character Mira to enflame my heroes, Roman and Jace. But you see how diverse my research needs became? Realistic detail gives an important flavor to a novel. It transports the reader into the pages and layers beneath the emotional and physical interactions of the characters to make a scene that much more impactful. It’s exciting to find just the right minutia to add. I’m not a research addict and am more than happy to leave behind the years of college term papers. But when I need it I am thrilled down to my black leather boots to find the handful of key words or descriptions or visuals to meet my needs. My characters appreciate it too. My current work in progress is set in Las Vegas and although another friend has sent me brochures galore from her recent trek to Nevada, I have one response to my up and coming research needs for this story. Road Trip.

Michelle Polaris


booklover0226 said...

I like to read how authors do their research; it's quite interesting. I don't think many realize the time and effort authors put into to write novels.

Tracey D

Michelle Polaris said...

No they don't, Tracey. Even if you're writing something more fantastical or futuristic, there is always something to research. Thanks for commenting.