Saturday, June 16, 2012

So What About All That Research?

We recently asked one of the authors on the Best Ever Summer Reading Blog tour about all the research authors do. Ann Tracy Marr is here to talk about a part of that.

Thank you, Angie, for hosting my blog at Love Romances And More this week. Let’s hope I entertain “the troops”!

Dear Readers, welcome to the Love Romances and More blog. I, Ann Tracy Marr, guest blogger, am supposed to write about how I research, but I am pretty sure I have done that before. (I mostly cruise the Internet, googling until I run into enough information to satisfy the need.) Don’t want to bore myself, let alone you. So let’s turn the topic on its side.

When would research have been helpful?

Say you are reading a Regency. When did Prinny build his vulgar Marine Pavilion in Brighton? If you have cascade brain failure, let him have his Eastern influenced fantasy in 1814. Wrong. The Pavilion was built from the “ashes” of a farmhouse in 1787 into a conventional English pile of stone. It was redesigned between 1815 and 1822 into a Chinese monstrosity. So the gaudy domed building I described in one of my books was not in existence in 1814. A Regency purist would hang me in effigy.

Or it’s a western romance. In the big fight scene, the cowboy takes one in the chin and falls through Judge Roy Bean's swinging saloon doors into the arms of his lady love. Stop! Don’t do it, not if you are staging the fight at Roy’s place. Maybe a bunch of saloons had those swinging doors, but his didn’t.

You can bet that Shakespeare got ribbed for having a clock strike three in Julius Caesar (there were no mechanical clocks in 44 AD). How is the beleaguered author to know that before the fifteenth century rosemary was called rosmarine? No tomatoes, vanilla, or potatoes until we discover the new world, please, although corn can refer to medieval grain.

The problem isn’t confined to history. Woe unto the writer who calls it the Sears Tower when it was renamed Willis Tower in 2009. If you don’t put Tiffany’s at 5th Avenue and 57th, New Yorkers will laugh. If you call the newspaper the Sacramento News instead of the Sacramento Bee, you will lose credibility. Get your guns right; don’t cock the hammer on a Glock. Don’t send him out in a sailboat in a fifteen knot wind unless he’s suicidal. Or put a cervical collar on a knee. If you want her to get to the meeting at 10 am, figure how long it will take to get through rush hour traffic, okay?

The wise author stays ahead of sharp eyed readers who expect fairly accurate world building. They nail you to the wall every time. Worse, they might not read your books. It is one thing to suspend belief, but who wants to be the artist who created the statue of Columbus with a telescope that hadn’t been invented in his lifetime?

Cheers, Ann Tracy Marr

Where can you find me?


Purchase books (e-book or trade paperback) on

This is the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour.

Eight authors in mixed genres trading blog space for eight weeks for your enjoyment. Someone on the blog tour is giving a prize every week – this week Regan Taylor is giving away an ebook copy of With All Dispatch, book 2 of the Treasures Antique Series (she is at – with a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift certificate at the end of the tour. You have to admit, that’s a dandy grand prize. Enjoy the blogs and leave comments for the opportunity to be the grand prize winner.

Curious to continue the tour? Here’s a list of the blogs:

Ann Tracy Marr -

Susan Roebuck -

Sharon Poppen -

Regan Taylor -

Corinne Davies -

Regina Andrews -

Christine London -

Lynn Hones -

1 comment:

Gina said...

Great post! Really interesting to learn about your research methods and how it ties into your writing! Best of luck to you, Regina