It's Monday, and no one really likes Mondays, but I'm excited to have a bit of news to tell you on this U.S. Labor Day Monday. First, I've accepted the editor position at the Pikes Peak Writers Blog. Things will remain the same here. Keep an eye out for a call for guest posts.
Second, I've been asked to do a presentation/workshop on blogging for both writers and readers at the AuthorFest of the Rockies. This one is a month sooner than the stand-alone workshop I've already mentioned.
Color me excited!
I'm reading the book All Clear by Connie Willis, and I'm amazed at the amount of research she had to have done, and how seamlessly she's worked it into the novel. The story is about time traveling historians who seek the reality behind history. They go back as observers, unable to intervene lest they cause ripples. However, when several of them find themselves in different parts of England during the Blitz during WWII, something happens, and they're trapped.
I picked this book up at the Pikes Peak Library's Mountain of Authors this past spring after listening to Connie Willis talk. She was fascinating. Like me, she gets wrapped up in her research, often finding herself on a tangent. She had stored all these little known facts about the Titanic, Molly Brown, the Black Death and the Blitz, all because she got caught up in her research. In fact, she said she doesn't enjoy the writing part, just the research part, but she writes to see what happens next.
I took notes on what she said, but looking at them now I see that I can't read my own writing. Whoops!
I did a post awhile back inspired by my frustration with a book I was reading because it was set in Colorado, yet the writer had obviously never been here and hadn't done her research. Connie Willis is the antidote to that. I'm not done with the book yet, but I'm completely lost in the world she's created, tense and terrified for the trapped historians, rooting for the survival of the secondary characters, and entirely drawn in to a part of history that has always just been of passing interest to me. Now I'm hungry to go read more about the era (once I'm done, of course). I had no idea how many children were evacuated during the Blitz, my only experience of it having been the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I got so many of my own story ideas (horror ideas, of course, because that is just how I roll) while reading this book.
To create such a realistic world is something we all hope to strive for. Yes, this all really happened in the past, but the level of detail in her books is stunning. Not only that, but she isn't killing us with flat information; everything is conveyed through the story. Not only am I having fun reading this book, but I'm learning all kinds of things that I want to look into further.
One pointer she gave us (that I can read, yay) was to start your research with kid's books. Children's non-fiction books tend to be more simplified, boiled down. You'll get a feel for what you're researching in the basic sense. After that, you can start researching via adult means, taking notes, using what you've already learned to figure out what to research more on. "Look for the details that make your spine tingle," she told us. "That will tell you that you're writing the right thing." If you're interested in it, if you're excited by it, your readers will be, too.
-Where do you write?
I write in my dungeon at a desktop computer, in the living room on a laptop, or on paper wherever I happen to be.
-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
A mishmash of photos of actors who resembled the looks and personality of my Lonely Hollow characters, plus a map of Lonely Hollow.
-Favorite time to write?
Any time I can!
-Drink of choice while writing?
Water. I know, boring, but caffeine puts me to sleep, so coffee is out. Sometimes I drink herbal tea.
-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
I like music. What I'm writing determines whether it's instrumental or just plain ol' regular music. Editing usually calls for instrumental.
-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
My inspiration was a dream. I have no idea where it came from, but I woke up knowing I needed to write about it.
-What's your most valuable writing tip?
Don't procrastinate; write when you have the chance!
BIO: Hi there! I am a mom to two in Colorado, and I write YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Horror. I read just about anything. My first visit to a writers conference a couple years ago got me inspired, and I jumped back into writing, finally dedicating more of my time to it. Looking forward to meeting you and working on my pitch!
Are you participating in GUTGAA? What are your research tips? Do you get lost in research or try to get it over with as fast as possible? What was a book you read that you thought did a fabulous job of accurate research without being dull?
May you find your Muse.