Wickeds, today we’re helping celebrate the release of Taken Too Soon, the 6th Quaker Midwife mystery by Edith. Historical mysteries are very rooted in research, so this is a great question for Edith and Jessie. I look forward to hearing what the rest of the Wickeds have to say. How much research do you do for your book? Does it depend on the genre? Are you a research junkie?
Jessie: Super congratulations, Edith! I know these books are close to your heart! Julie, I am a total research junkie! I spend a ton of time just luxuriating in sources! As a matter of fact, I recently indulged my fancy by purchasing a subscription to the British Newspaper Archive! It has already provided hours and hours of fun for me! I think historical novels are definitely research heavy ventures but I would think that any book that the writer needs to rely on information and experiences outside her own requires that piece of the process.
Barb: Congratulations, Edith, on the release of Taken Too Soon. I doubt I do as much research as our two historical mystery authors. My book Sealed Off has a mystery in the past as well as one in the present and even writing that much history freaked me out. But I do research stuff I don’t know about: Oyster farming, mega-yachts, black diamonds, blueberry harvesting, clamming, shoreline property rights in Maine. It’s fun and interesting for me, and I hope it’s interesting for readers.
Sherry: Happy release day, Edith! I have been doing so much research on boats for A Time to Swill! I have sailboats, cigarette boats, center-console boats, and speed boats in this book. I know next to nothing about boats so I’ve been reading about helms, rudders, VHF radios, and on and on. It’s been fun and a bit overwhelming to read about them.
Liz: Congrats, Edith! I’ve done some really fun research in the name of my books – I’ve watched cremations, visited a python (yuck), toured a dairy farm, and heard fascinating stories from ghost hunters. It’s so much fun and you can definitely get lost in it!
Julie: Congratulations, Edith! I do some research, but just enough to get my creative juices flowing. I find it really helpful if I have an idea, but need to figure out how to turn it into a story. A recent example is the plotting work I’d doing for the 5th Garden Squad series. I started with the idea of the Garden Squad spring cleaning the graves in the cemetery, and then I started doing research on cemetery plots and who sells them. After a couple of hours of research I had an idea for the story, the misdeeds of the victim and a healthy list of suspects.
Edith: Thank you so much, dear Wickeds! Jessie’s right, this series is close to my heart. I do some research up front, a little as I go along, and a lot more when I’m resolving all the CHECK THIS notes I leave to myself as I write the first draft. I loved digging into the history of the greater Falmouth area for this book, visiting historical societies and historic homes, and soaking up the flavor. When it comes to research, bring it on!
Writer friends, how much research do you do? Readers, do you ever go down the rabbit hole of research? What sends you there?