Friday, August 03, 2007
BOM: The Research
As I type this, it is 2:17 AM on Friday morning--I've just gotten in from Oregon, and what a blessed trip! I had such a wonderful time at Oregon Christian Writers--I don't know if I did anything for them, but those folks blessed my socks off! Such lovely people and warm hearts . . .
Anyway, I have to catch some zzz's and go get my puppies out of the kennel first thing in the morning. I am suffering loads of mama guilt just thinking about them away from home. Charley Gansky gets really homesick. :-)
Okay, back to the topic at hand--You might think that a book set in contemporary times doesn't require as much research as a historical novel--wrong! (Well, I suppose it all depends upon the topics you address.)
I had to learn about my setting, of course (Charlottesville, VA), my heroine's occupation (physician's assistant), and a wee bit about sperm banks and genetics. Enough to sound credible, at least. I also had to learn about computer encryption, reference librarians, and how to vanish under a fake name.
I "refreshed" the manuscript before I handed in the Thomas Nelson edition, and in addition to cutting thousands of unnecessary words I also found a couple of places where I'd written, "He logged on and waited for the modem to dial his connection . . ." LOL! Technology changes quickly!
The research wasn't difficult, though, and as I said, I only had to learn enough to sound credible. The point of the story isn't technology--it's Lara's feelings about this special child, and her decisions about whether or not to live a lie or honor truth. Yet even that took research. I had to grapple with the Scriptural examples of people who lied and God seemed to bless them for it--the midwives in Egypt, the prophet who sent the enemy warriors to the wrong house, even Rahab. I wrestled with one question for a long time: is it ever right to lie? Before you answer, ask yourself what you'd tell the Nazis who came to your door . . . if you were hiding Jews in your attic. Hmmm.
Tomorrow: the writing.