Today, I'm excited to be on the BEVERLY BONNEFINCHE IS DEAD by Kristen Seeley's Virtual Book tour sponsored by iRead Book Tours. Kristen has graciously provided a guest post on "How do you do research for your book?" filled with some wonderful advice. Check out her post below, her book, and enter the giveaway!
HOW DO YOU DO RESEARCH FOR YOUR BOOK?
“Finding Fionn – Inspired by the Kidnapping of the Irish Racehorse Shergar” is my twenty-third book and my fourth historical fiction. Research is part of the writing process regardless of the genre. Fantasy books need research, too! But the best part about writing historical fiction is the fun research! YES! I meant it when I said: FUN!
Most of my books, from fantasy to picture books, coming of age to historical fiction, are about horses. And this one is no different. I love searching for a little-known horse story and then creating a novel about what I find. “Finding Fionn” is created around an awful crime that took place on February 8, 1983, in Ireland. The hero of the entire country was a champion racehorse named Shergar. Everyone loved him. He brought joy to a country that was otherwise in turmoil…a time period called “The Troubles.” On that foggy night, Shergar was stolen from his stall, loaded in a trailer, and taken way into the darkness. Sadly, the ransom demand was never met, the horse was never seen again, and the case has still never been solved.
I like to purchase non-fiction books that have been written about my targeted topic. I read them carefully, taking notes and underlining important information. I also dogear pages. (Don’t tell!) As I study, the story begins to take shape in my head. I don’t start writing until I have the entire story figured out.
Once I do start writing, there is still more research to be done. Since I have never been to Ireland or France, the two countries that provide the locations for my story, I relied quite a bit on the internet and even Google Maps. I also elicited the help of a young woman from France who lived with us as an exchange student and a friend of my daughter who lives in Ireland. These two young women made sure I had all my geography correct and the Irish lilt in the dialogue accurate.
Even though I was a young mother at the time of this crime, I realized I really didn’t have a clear understanding of The Troubles. I had previously thought that it was a religious war between Catholics and Protestants. I was wrong. So, much more research went into Irish history to learn about the internal war going on in Ireland at that time.
As you write your own story, you will come across things that will cause you to wonder…I wonder what the parts of a boat are called, I wonder how far it is from Dublin to the Racetrack, I wonder how you would travel from Ireland to England or France. Don’t guess…find out!
As a lifelong equestrian, I feel quite comfortable writing about horses, horse-care, tack, riding, showing, racing, and all that. That’s why it is fun to write about something you know and love. However, don’t limit yourself to just your expertise. You can get the help you need by researching!
Thank you Kristen for this great advice! Be sure to check out Kristen's book BEVERLY BONNEFINCHE IS DEAD and enter the giveaway below!