Sometimes I think I love to do research as much as I love to write. I was always a voracious reader as a kid and I have always loved learning about new and interesting things. In those days before computers and easy access, I remember some days I would get a volume from our encyclopedia and simply sit and read it…savoring all the knowledge that it contained. I’d even find subjects that intrigued me and I’d spend hours researching…going from volume to volume to learn as much as possible about whatever that subject might be.
While a great amount of realism is and should be in all novels, especially romance novels, there are times when one must take literary license and perhaps leave out details of the era or tweak what was happening at the time. I used to catch myself looking to see if I could find such differences in books as I read them….until I realized it simply ruined my reading experience.
I have research books to aid in describing perhaps the correct dress of an era…or to learn certain customs. These things to me are essential to a good book. Those dusty encyclopedias are still in my shelves for times I just don’t want to look up things on the computer. While I am becoming a computer age writer…I will always have a special place in my heart for the written word.
In the time I have been learning my craft, I have learned that research is a must…literary license is at times acceptable; however, all times and people and events should mirror the era you are presenting as much as possible. Stay true to your story and to your characters. The book will literally write itself.
Computers and books can and will exist together…there are needs for them both,