Currently working on: Revisions for my agent on my urban fantasy novel, KNIGHT'S CURSE
When you write paranormal and fantasy, research can be a challenge. And just because what you write isn't real doesn't mean facts aren't involved. Lots of the stuff I write is complete make-believe, but a bit of fact-finding research can spark some awesomely bizarre ideas.
I don't have a folder filled with links to favorite research sites. My needs change all the time and favorite websites disappear. The Internet is a very unstable world. So I usually start my research in the same place for every book: Google. And my research isn't complete without throwing in a look at Wikipedia.
What I love about research is where it can lead. A crazy chain of website links help me create a plot and inspire interesting subplots to go with it. Because I write fantasy, my fact-finding must be creative. How many fallen angels do you know? Any thousand-year-old Seljuk Turks hanging out in your neighborhood? Do you keep the mummified remains of a prophetic saint in your closet? No? Welcome to my world.
When I started plotting KNIGHT'S CURSE, I knew I wanted a heroine unlike any other. I thought she could be a descendant of something legendary and powerful, maybe even mythological. A goddess? Been done to death. Amazonian? Meh. But I liked the idea of a warrior. So I started Googling and discovered an order of female knights from the eleventh century called the Order of The Hatchet. Now that's cool. So my heroine became a knight in an order that, in my world, still exists in the 21st century, only instead of fighting soldiers in a medieval Crusade they fight supernatural evil in the city.
I also wanted to stay clear of vampires and were-animals of any sort. Dragons? Too big and bulky. Griffons? Closer. Demons? Too stock for my needs, though I did use one in a small role. A little surfing online got me thinking about gargoyles. Now that had potential. The whole turning to stone thing? Oh, yeah. I was all over it.
The plot began piecing itself together from all the tidbits I'd found in my research, and I had a blast making it work as a story. All these diverse subjects connecting in cool and unusual ways made a mad sort of sense, and the glue was my own dark and twisted imagination.
Could I have written this book without the research? Probably, but it would have been a different book and might have taken me three times as long to write. The resources at my fingertips freed my imagination, even expanded it. And I ended up with enough material to write an entire series. High speed cable and WiFi. I don't know how I ever got along without it.