First of all, thank you very much to the Minxes for inviting me back to talk about a subject dear to my heart – my favourite bit of writing a book.
Which is… (cue drum roll) research.
Why do I love research so much? I guess it’s because I’m a nerd who just loves learning new things. Better still is when I get to do location research and actually see the place I’m talking about - and it can be really important, because if I hadn't visited Venice earlier this year then I wouldn't have known that their stained glass is very different from English stained glass, and my book would have been completely wrong. (The eating of lots of ice cream in Venice was also research, albeit for a different book that I haven’t started yet and needs, um, another research trip.)
Actually doing the research is one thing; putting it into your book so it doesn’t show is quite another. It's quite tricky to walk the line between putting enough research into the book so that my readers get a flavour of the background (whether it's a place or a profession – or, in the case of my Medical romances, the patients’ illnesses and how to treat it), but not putting in so much that it's an infodump or drowns the romance. Although I’ve had plenty of readers tell me that one of the things they love about my books is that they learn something new, at the end of the day, I know that their main concern is the journey between the hero and heroine (and all the stuff I find absolutely fascinating gets in the way of said journey. I still need to know it before I write, though, because it does affect how my hero and heroine think).
My current release, Champagne with a Celebrity, has a parfumier as a hero. And you can't write a book about someone who develops new perfumes unless you know how it's done, can you? And when I discovered that there was a one-to-one course on designing your own perfume, literally 20 minutes down the road from me... Well, I just had to do it, didn’t I? I learned some really interesting things about perfume – and I did manage to work some of them into the book, when the hero guides the heroine through making her own perfume blend. (I would tell you more here, but then you wouldn’t learn something new when you read the book – and I couldn’t possibly disappoint you like that!) I also made my own bottle of fragrance; though I will admit that, despite my best intentions, it turned out to be a clone of my favourite perfume.
So my question to you is: research. Love it or hate it?
Kate Hardy’s latest book, Champagne with a Celebrity, is the second in a duo about the Lefèvre brothers. It’s available now at bookshops, Amazon or at the M&B website. Click here for the Amazon link
And in other news, we have an exciting Minx announcement here on the blog on Monday - Don't forget to pop in and read it!