Sunday, May 14, 2017

Crazy things authors do in the name of research

Over the years as an editor, I’ve had to ask various authors if what they’ve said in their books is accurate. The internet is a wonderful place for an author to begin their research, but it’s not necessarily completely correct.

I know of several authors who had to check whether certain buildings were still in various towns. Google Maps is a good place to start, but Google Earth is even better. Best of all is a friend living in that town who can do the leg work for the author.

I know of several authors who’ve been on a police program where they travel with officers on their daily/nightly duties. That really gives immediacy to the writing.

I’ve previously mentioned the well-known erotic romance author who freely confesses to having broken arms and legs off some of her Barbie and Ken dolls while researching her sex scenes. But it’s good to know what finally gets in her book works.

Then there was the author who wanted her heroine to escape from a certain model of car. Not owning that type of vehicle herself, she went down to the local car sales yard and asked to view one. I’m not too sure what the salesman thought as she practised climbing in and out of the trunk, but hey, I knew her heroine could do it!

One of my favorite stories is the author whose heroine needed to escape from a villain during a romantic scene. Her husband came home from work one night to find candles on the table and an unopened bottle of champagne. He was really happy until she explained that she was going to hit him over the head with the full bottle, and see if she could drag his unconscious body down the hallway as her heroine would need to do. Her husband just looked at her and said, “Can’t I drink all the champagne and get unconscious that way instead?”

You may already have read of Anny Cook’s research into making acorns into food. An entire chat loop of authors was waiting with bated breath for each new step of this adventure. It ended up as a great blog, but the actual book she was using it for went in a different direction from the one she was expecting and her hero and heroine never had to cook the acorns.
But maybe one day in a future book….
The acorn story is here:

Helen Woodall

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