The Joys of Research – Evonne Wareham
Giveaway – Evonne has kindly offered a signed paperback copy of her multi award winning book – Never Coming Home. To win this great prize comment on this post letting us know your thoughts on research. The winning entry will be picked at random on Thursday 10th April at 5pm and we will email you within 48 hours.
There may be writers around who don’t like doing research, but I have yet to meet one. For most of us research is as irresistible as catnip is to cats. Reading, messing about on the Internet, taking experts to lunch – what’s not to like? It’s only to be outdone by planning – which should never be confused with sitting and staring into space. Eventually the hard slog part will intrude – the pen to paper, fingers to keyboard stuff, but in the meantime that book, that exhibition, that film, even the ultimate, that holiday, can all be classed as work.
When you start out as a writer you are frequently told to write what you know. I struggled with that one for quite a while. A career as a local government officer and life in the suburbs didn’t offer me a lot of material. Some writers do wonders with it, but I’m not one of them. When I finally reached the conclusion that I could substitute ‘Write what you know.’ with ‘Go and research.’ Things got a whole lot better.
You can find out most things on the Internet these days, but being an academic at heart, I still prefer books and classes. I’ve studied forensics, art history and folk lore at evening lectures, all in the interests of books already written, or books yet to come. As I write romantic suspense – a genre that is more prevalent in the US, which mixes romance and thriller – my research tends towards glamour rather than grit. Although not always, hence the forensics.
I’m currently in the glorious stage of planning a handful of novels, and can be found, staring into space, at regular intervals. And finding things out. The research material around the house includes catalogues from recent exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery and the British Library, leaflets from Tate Modern, travel guides to California and London, a couple of books on the retrieval of art works during World War Two, my father’s photographs of his wartime progress though Italy with the RAMC, the selected plays of Webster and Ford and a book on Georgian gardens. And there are plenty more opportunities for research on the horizon, including a trip to the National Archive at Kew, to look at original papers, if I can manage it.
As I’ve said, it’s an addiction. The keyboard will get me in the end, but at the moment I’m ahead by a whisker. Eventually the book’s clamour to be written will drown out the siren call of yet another research tome …
But that compulsion is entirely another story.
Evonne writes in a genre that is better known in the US – romantic suspense – which mixes crime with an integral love story and an up-beat ending for hero and heroine. She is an award winner on both sides of the Atlantic and a member of the CWA and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, which means she gets to go to twice as many literary parties.
Her blog is http://evonneonwednesday.blogspot.com
Her website is www.evonnewareham.com
On twitter she is @evonnewareham