Monday, January 17, 2011
In the Beginning, There was Research by Shana Galen
I’ll be the first person to tell you that I hate research. I’ve always hated it, which is of course, why I majored in Psychology in college and wrote a Senior thesis which involved—what else?—a lot of research!
And then I got out of Psychology and away from research, only to write historical romance novels which involve—what else?—a lot of research!
You would think after seven historical novels, I’d be resigned to the fact that I’m going to have to research, but for some reason I always think I’ll get out of it. My April book, The Making of a Rogue, was like this. It’s the third in my Sons of the Revolution series, and it’s about Bastien, the youngest son of the duc de Valère. Like his two brothers, Bastien escaped the Revolution and the guillotine. He did so by joining a group of pirates and sailing away from France.
When we catch up with Bastien, about twelve years later, he has his own ship and is a privateer in his own right. But he a problem in the form of the daughter of a British Navy Admiral.
So far so good, right?
Sure. If I knew something about ships. Or sailing.
But I wasn’t worried about this small oversight when I proposed the book. I wasn’t even worried when I wrote the first chapters. I began to worry about chapter three when I had more XXs (notes to myself to look something up) than I did actual words! Clearly, I had to stop and do research.
I checked out every book I could find in the library, ordered some from Amazon, and then I realized I had a great source right in front of me. My dad! He sails and he loves history. He’s always telling me about how he’s going to host a dinner and make authentic shipboard food from the Patrick O’Brien novels.
Not my dream, but to each his own, right?
So thank God for my dad. He actually made the research fun. And since I had to go back and make so many changes to the beginning of the book, I promised myself next time I’d research first.
And I just might…right after I write a few new pages…