Do you know what’s the most crushing moment for an author?
When you receive the best research material – long after your book has been published.
“Look at these old photos!” people would say at my public readings. “They’re from exactly the same year you’ve written about.”
Or: “My grandfather worked at exactly the place you’ve described in your book. By the way, I inherited his diaries. Do you want to read them?”
To see the original photos, hear people’s stories and read the private documents was thrilling.
On the flipside, it was devastating.
Because it was so clear: If only I had had those documents or photos while writing my book! Writing those scenes would have been so much easier. But now it was way too late to incorporate any of this wonderful information into my novel – it was already finished and out in the world.
During one of those evenings, I decided to flip the whole thing around. There must be a way, I thought, to activate people’s memories, to ask for photos and to research local materials at a very early stage of writing the novel. Since that epiphany, I have developed habits – both for my own research and for the research that I do for others – that I want to share with you.
Through this process, we have collected unpublished material, met the most amazing experts and walked the very streets of the settings for possible novels – all by investing only a few hours of preparation, sending a few simple emails and spending a few Euros for copies and mail postage.
How did we do all that? By making our research interview requests known in the region we’d be travelling to – while we were in the researching phase of writing the novel. By communicating effectively with the people who could help us out the most – with the help of organising special interview days.
Want to learn how to recreate this process for yourself and start planning a stay at the setting of your novel?
Download your workbook here >>
Then download the free workbook. And be prepared to gather a lot of material and to find things you’ve never even knew you were searching for.