I love research.
There. I can admit. I love the fact that now I know a stamp cost 3 cents in 1943. That a movie ticket was 17 cents. That half of all K-9s used during World War II by the military were trained at a remote fort in Nebraska. That there were less than 1,000 nurses in the army before Pearl Harbor but more than 12,000 a year later. Can you guess what kind of book I'm researching right now?
I love details.
The highest compliment I can get as a writer is surprise when a reader realizes I'm 32 rather than in my late 70s. That there is no way I lived during the early 40s but I captured the time.
I hate bad research. One of the biggest stoppers for me when reading a book is hitting a detail or fact that I know is wrong. I don't want to give my readers those kind of opportunities to hurl a book against the wall or throw it under the bed to languish, forgotten and unfinished.
So I read books, I review websites (but focus on the ones by people and organizations who were there or preserve that history). I talk to people. I compile all kinds of trivia that I may never actually use, but when sprinkled lightly into the story will give it the ring of authenticity. Now if I could only make myself put the research down and write the proposals all that research is for!
Cara Putman is an attorney and author who lives in Indiana with her family. Her first book, Canteen Dreams, will release in October 2007 by Heartsong Presents. And you guessed it, it's a story set during World War II.