There is a writing adage to “Write what you know.” While this is faster and easier, it’s also limiting. If I wrote only what I knew, Tess would wear plain old undergarments instead of expensive French couture lingerie. Jack would drive an old Honda instead of a Tesla. The only thing that I know is chocolate.
The challenge of making things up when you write is being as accurate as possible. To that end, sometimes I need to do research. While research in school was tedious and boring, research for writing fiction can be very interesting. Here are a few cool things I’ve learned when doing research for my books:
- You can’t poison someone quickly with mistletoe, which is why Santa was stabbed in Death Under the Mistletoe.
- Stabbing someone in the mid-back on the side can still be fatal. I had to figure out where to stab someone in the back to avoid a fatal injury for Meant to Be: Southern Heat Book Two.
- Chocolate with nibs is yummy. Scharffen Berger’s chocolate with nibs makes an appearance in for Deadly Valentine.
- There’s such a thing as Moonpie Moonshine, although I haven’t been able to taste it yet. Moonshine shows up in Meant to Be: Southern Heat Book Two.
- I hate to fly (like Jack Valentine), but I learned how to fly a Cessna through a Youtube video for a new cozy mystery I’m writing.
- I have learned how to make a chocolate martini. You can find the recipe in ‘Til Death Do Us Part: A Valentine Mystery Book 4.
- I knew the French Blue eventually became the Hope Diamond, but learned that when the original stone was cut into the French Blue, there weren’t enough cuttings to make more jewelry. The French Blue shows up in With This Ring, I Thee Kill: A Valentine Mystery Book 3. I also take some liberties with the cuttings.
- The Grimms were disturbed brothers. I have a new character who likes fairy tales, so I’m reading Grimm’s’ stories and others.
- The southern accent is the most similar to the English of our forefathers than the accent in other parts of the U.S. I used this plus other cool stuff I learned about the southern accent in a free ebook How to Speak Southern.
- There’s a mystery surrounding the Confederate treasury and gold. I have been thinking of using it in a Delecoeur novella, but I might save it for something else.
- It’s legal to make beer and wine at home for personal consumption in Virginia, but not moonshine.
- Franklin County, Virginia is the “Capital of Moonshine.”