I'll admit it, I'm lazy. I don't particularly enjoy poring over books doing research. I'm usually too excited to get started on the book and want to be writing!
But there is one cool thing - I'm a people person. If you take me somewhere that I can experience, and meet people related to what I'm researching, that's a whole other story. My mum would call me Trilby. Trilby was someone years ago who used to run the roads. Always had to be going. My mum and I call each other Trilby because despite being homebodies, we do love to travel and learn.
I have to admit I've enjoyed doing research this year. First of all, there was the military research for The Soldier's Homecoming which is coming out in March of 08. I did some online, going to several sites on the Canadian Armed Forces, and I read a couple of books which were really great. But best of all was when an e-harlequin member turned me on to a friend of hers. We e-mailed back and forth fairly often, me asking questions, her friend and husband answering. It was so cool to "meet" them.
Then there was the research for the book I'm in revisions for - My Marshal book. My hero is a United States Marshal, so my husband e-mailed an online buddy in the States and asked if he'd answer some questions for me. He is a REALLY cool guy. And after "talking" to him, I've not only had my eyes opened as to what he does, but I've often thought how his wife must feel every time he leaves on an assignment. It became really important to me to realize that these people that do dangerous jobs have wives, children, family waiting for them.
You really do meet some cool people. This summer I was in British Columbia on holidays and did a wine tour, as I said earlier, at Granite Creek. Once I do the second draft of the Italian's Surprise Proposal, I'm starting the winery book, so I wanted to do a tour while I was away. Gary was great, and when he spoke I understood it because he spoke like a farmer (I get that, that's how I grew up). Grapes are his crop, and it was really neat listening to the ins and outs of growing them in that area. The very day I posted about that part of the trip, I e-mailed the winery to thank them for the tour and let them know I enjoyed the wine, and Gary himself e-mailed back, offering to answer more questions when I'm ready.
I think life is all about expanding horizons and learning, and rapidly that's becoming one of my favourite parts of this job. EVERYTHING is fodder for research. It makes me look on my experiences in a new light - I pay more attention, I take things in. Because I never know when something will twig and it'll end up in a story! The best parts are meeting new people willing to talk about what they do, or where they are. It gives it that personal touch that sometimes you just can't get from book reading.