Keep those questions coming, if you’ve got them.
Mitch asks: What have you been reading lately? Do you read every day, or just try to cram in what you can when you can?
I wish I could say that I’ve been reading a lot lately, but honestly, I haven’t had time. Well, not novels, anyway. I’ve been taking in a lot of poetry: Borges, Neruda, Rilke, Rumi, Frost, and others. I also have books by Joanne Harris beside my bed (Runemarks and Lollipop Shoes), the new anthology of love letters (Four Letter Word), Alane Ferguson’s The Christopher Killer, A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear, Little America by Henry Bromell, Volk’s Game by Brent Ghelfi, The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont, and The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy. There’s more, but that list could stretch on for a very long time.
I’ve got several ways of handling research:
a) I travel to the place.
b) I travel via the internet, bookstore, television, and library.
c) I talk to people who live there, or have traveled extensively in the area.
Now, I usually try to do all three of those things, but for some books, I can only manage research from my home. Either way, I always worry I’ve gotten something wrong. And though I try my best, mistakes do happen.
As for advice on ways to handle research, if you’ve chosen a well-known urban setting, try to actually take a trip there. And if that’s not possible, then you better be prepared for Steps 2 and 3—the internet, books, local newspapers, photographs, travelogues, documentaries, and—most importantly—people who live in the area.