Friday, July 08, 2011

Current Project: Sharks
Status: 2 scenes finished

I love research. For me it is looking into the past. I pick a time and a place then I read everything I can about that era. I have not always been able to visit the country I am writing about before I have a finished manuscript. I have written westerns set in the Rocky Mountains and the Lakota territory. I have been there, seen the country firsthand. It is amazing how much better a story comes together, for me, when I have seen the land, the trees, the fauna and the way sky looks.

When I visited Scotland and England I brought home so many books my bag was over weight. I actually watched them search my suitcase on the tarmac before they loaded it on the plane. Kind of embarrassing and the incident left me feeling violated for several months afterward.

I have books from Hawaii, myths and legends, which I'm sure will eventually become a book. When I travel I take pictures. Digital cameras are so amazing because you can take sooooo many pictures. Some of the pictures have been used on my covers. Highland Song, the cover is a picture I took in Scotland. It was, allegedly, Queen Victoria's favorite spot.

I'm heading for New York and Atlantic City this fall. Hmmmm.... what kind of research will I do? I don't intend to buy books, but who knows. They are irresistible. And I could have a War Between the States or a Revolutionary War in the back of my head.

Happy researching to all. How do you research?


Sarah Raplee said...

Chris, I'm like you in that I prefer to immerse myself in a place or environment before writing about it.

Not that there aren't times when I have to rely on my imagination, or ask the experts. For instance, I couldn't get permission to fire a rifle in a cave. :)

Paty Jager said...

Chris,I hear ya on the books! My first trip to Ketchikan I came back with about ten! Fodder for books I hope to one day write set during the gold rush. And today I made a trek to the Round Barn visitor center and book store and came home with three books. Two on logging and one on A History of Medicine on the American Frontier.

I, too, prefer to travel to the area where I set my stories. But I can't always do that.

Fun post.

Genene Valleau said...

I also prefer to travel to the area where my books are set. However, as you said, there's also the danger is coming back with so many research books and ideas you'll be writing for decades. :)

Hawaiian myths and legends sounds intriguing!