Research for Fun & Profit

On Any Given SundaeA while ago, Marilyn Brant took part in a Austenesque Pride & Prejudice “Choose Your Own Adventure” round robin. I read her segment, and loved it. I was not surprised. I’d noticed she has that “Austen voice” in her books; especially her women’s fiction. After I left my comment, I emailed Marilyn to tell her she was pitch perfect and to ask if she every thought of writing a historical romance. Her reply inspired today’s topic, and she gave me permission to quote her:

“…it was the first time I’d ever wondered if writing something historical might be possible for me after all. I’d always dismissed the idea because I figured that the research into the Regency era would be too hard to learn.”

I understand her fear that she might get details wrong. This is one reason I don’t write mysteries. In addition, I don’t want to research murder and torture. It makes me feel queasy. I’d much rather research raising kittens and making Italian food or baking pies. Or making ice cream sundaes. :)

rosemareRight now, I’m researching pet food. My cat and dog are picky eaters, and I’ve been thinking of making their food myself. As a bonus, I can use it in my Rescued Hearts series. I’ve already learned fascinating facts. Did you know that just a whiff of rosemary can “sharpen the brain and overcome fatigue”? And as well as being a digestive aid, rosemary is “beneficial for the heart, liver, and eyes, and it helps improve hair and coat quality.”

The quotes are from The Whole Pet Diet by Andi Brown, and she says she could write an entire book about “the incredible healing properties of this aromatic, culinary herb.”

Does that excite you? It does me. I want to burn rosemary scented candles while I write to make my brain sharper. And garlic is a miracle herb (and/or vegetable) that I could go on and on about, but I’ll spare you.

LOSCoverEven though I’m not a huge sports fan, I buy books with professional hockey and football players, etc., as heroes. I enjoy reading about people doing their best. And though I don’t play a musical instrument, I’ve had musician heroes in two books. I love music, so why not put that love into my books?

What excites you? What are your interests that you’d like to see in a book?

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14 Responses to Research for Fun & Profit

  1. Amy says:

    Hi Edie – I love reading books about everything. Even things I have thought to be boring in the past (um, anything historical – sorry Michelle!) has caused me to change my mind while reading a story. I find I have new respect for things after reading a book about it. I recently read a book where the heroine was an archaeologist and the hero was a historic preservationist (I think that was his job). I now have a new respect for those to professions even though I didn’t exactly find an interest in those things before. So, I would say that I like to read books about things I know nothing about. :)
    Amy`s last blog was …Review: ONE NIGHT WITH A HERO by Laura Kaye

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Amy, I agree! It’s the way good writers like Michelle bring the people from historical times alive that makes their books fascinating.

      And when I think of archaeologists, I think of the late Elizabeth Peter’s books, and of course, Indiana Jones. It’s not something I would write, but like you, I’ll read it. :)

  2. Hi,

    Interesting topic.

    I choose the books I buy, read and write based on my heart–meaning what I love –and secondly, what I’d like to learn more about. I’ve strayed from writing two books that are in the back of my mind, however, because I don’t feel ready to write them. One because my emotions are still too fragile to deal with the topic and the other because I haven’t determined the best way to approach a story that draws me to it but overwhelms me in how to approach it best.

    Thank you for making me think about this issue.
    Casey Clifford`s last blog was …Summer Meltdown

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Casey, thanks! Yes, there are topics I can’t deal with either. I couldn’t write a book with torture or child abuse. It would carry over into my non-writing life. But sometimes we’re drawn to a story, and it’s something that needs to be written, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. Good luck to you!

  3. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Edie

    I write what I love and that makes the research easy but even within that context, there is some research that is hard to do – or find the right material. I read for escape or to learn and the books are very different. I have a lot of self help books but read paranormal fiction because it doesn’t get too real. :)

  4. Misty Evans says:

    Edie, I love research and usually start out researching one thing and end up on something entirely different! But it’s all good. A lot of ideas for books come from it and I have interesting conversations with my kids.

    I recently did research on the Green Berets for my upcoming Entangled release, The Perfect Hostage, and I researched demons that cause nightmares for my next Kali book. Fascinating stuff!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Misty, demons would be kind of fun for me. Since I don’t believe in them. I can read about them with enjoyment. It’s the real demons that upset me.

  5. Edie, you know how much I love research. My bookshelves are groaning with reference books I pick up wherever I go. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to them all, but I’m going to try! :)

    My upcoming release, Banquet of Lies, has quite a bit about food in it. I didn’t need to do much research there, as I cook and bake a lot, but I did have to learn about 19th Century kitchens, how they were run, and I poured over menus and cookbooks of that time. That was a lot of fun.
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Book signing event in Fremantle, Western Australia

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Michelle, I love the thought that your book shelves are groaning. lol

      I got hungry reading about the meals when I beta read Banquet of Lies. You did a great job, and I know the readers will love it.

  6. Liz Kreger says:

    That’s the thing I like about writing romantic space operas, Edie. I can make it up as I go and who’s gonna tell me I’m wrong? With writing historicals, the author has to have the facts right ’cause you know darn well that someone will haul you on the carpet if you’re wrong.

    Things that excite me? Hmm. Gardening, as you well know. I was in touch will someone on facebook who was discussing “poison flowers”, such as monkshood. It was fascinating and now that I don’t have a little kid to worry about accidentally getting into one of those plants, I’m thinking of trying one in the near future.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Liz, so true about space operas – and many paranormal and UF books.

      Poison flowers does sound fascinating! You should find a way to put that in one of your books.

  7. marilynbrant says:

    Edie,
    Thanks so much for the shout out and for sharing that story about the Austenesque project. It really was an interesting (and anxiety-provoking!) challenge, but I’m so glad I tried it…
    I’ve enjoyed learning and reading stories about musicians — probably why your hero Noah from Dragon Blues will always be one of my favorites (I just LOVE him!) — and food is a passion of mine, too…to read about, write about and research :).

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