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Monday, October 20, 2014
Author Carol Kilgore: Researching for a Novel
It’s with great pleasure that I welcome friend, fellow blogger and author Carol Kilgore to Thoughts in Progress today. Carol has a terrific new book, SECRETS OF HONOR, which was recently released.
Here’s a short synopsis of the book:
By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple. As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of her dearest friend, it’s hard to say no. Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for. The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.
Now, please join me in giving Carol a warm welcome as she talks about research while writing. Welcome, Carol!
I love visiting Thoughts in Progress, so being a guest here is an honor. Thank you, Mason!
Today I want to talk about some of the research involved during the writing of a novel.
I’ll be honest in that I don’t research everything. If I think I know what I’m writing about well enough, I don’t research. A few times, this has gotten me into trouble. In my second novel, SOLOMON’S COMPASS, there is a scene where a heavy tree limb falls onto the roof of a small car.
So I followed my gut and had the windshield pop out. I’ve seen something like this in movies, and of course we know movies always get everything correct. Right?
Thanks to my guardian angel, who’s always on her toes, turns out the husband of a beta reader knows cars – as in REALLY knows cars. Windshields don’t pop out like that—at least not from sudden weight on the roof. She told me how to fix it and I did. Thank you, Tara and Mr. Tara!
On the flip side of the research coin, I tend to be a teeny bit OCD about little things. If flowers are blooming, I look up what blooms at that place, at that time. If the flowers are a specific color, I research for that, too. I’ve looked up car models and colors for specific years, kinds of trees that grow in an area, times for sun and moon risings and settings, high and low tide tables, things seagulls won’t eat, and much more.
Then there are the big research projects.
With every story, I spend a lot of time on names. Some characters jump in and introduce themselves and don’t lie. The names they tell me are their real names, and all is well. Others are not so honest. Still others clam up, leaving it to me to put the clues together and search not only for their names but also for who they really are.
Most stories have one primary research project and several secondary ones, plus all the minor issues that crop up. I try to get all the major questions answered before I begin to write. Inevitably, I have to stop on the first page, though, to find out some point I didn’t know I needed until I actually wrote real words on the page.
It’s a good thing I like searching for details. The process leads me down all sorts of interesting paths that often add new elements and dimensions to the story. That’s a good thing all the way around.
Carol, it's always a pleasure when you visit. Thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight on your research process. I could research being a fun element of writing, but also time consuming as it could lead you in so many directions if you didn’t stay focused.
For those who aren’t familiar with Carol, here’s a bit of background on her.
Carol writes grocery lists, texts to her family, new lyrics to old songs for her dogs, love notes to her husband, and novels for herself. And for you. In between, she blogs weekly at Under the Tiki Hut and is active on Facebook and Twitter.
She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fictionwith a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.
Hi, I'm Mason Canyon and I love reading and that is why I do reviews. I post them here, as well as several other sites such as Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you are an author who would like for me to review your book or you would like to guest blog here, please contact me at email@example.com These reviews are done for the love of a good book, not for monetary rewards.