Confessions of a Research Nerd
I am a research nerd. There’s nothing I like better than researching for a book. (Well, almost nothing. I like when the words flow from my fingers like manna from heaven.) My current series is called Texas True. Each book is about one of the six siblings in the Walker family.
I started with Gabe Walker, a metal artist who’s been in several earlier books. Texas Forged is his story. Leaving aside searching for the perfect guy to represent Gabe, I needed to research metal art. He makes huge pieces as well as small, realistic as well as modern art. I found a couple of pictures of pieces of art that were basically swirls of color. The best one is no longer where I bookmarked it, darn it. There are also a ton of horses, dragons, bulls, people and almost anything else you can think of. I also researched forges and workshops, what they look like and how they operate.
I have a file of bookmarks for each book. Sometimes some of my research overlaps. For the book that’s coming out April 29, Truly, Madly Texas, book 2 in the series, I got to research rodeos and saddle bronc riders among other things. Also injuries, like a broken shoulder and how long a rodeo cowboy would be out after an operation like that. (Hint: As short a time as possible.) There are about a zillion videos of saddle bronc riders on the internet. I watched a ton but didn’t scratch the surface. My go to’s for medical questions are my husband, a retired radiologist and general surgeon, and my daughter, an OB/GYN Physician’s Assistant.
Hands on experience is always nice. With that in mind I recently did something I hadn’t done in years. I rode a horse on a trail ride. I also attended a workshop about bees—haven’t used that yet but I bet I will.
I went to see a psychic too. Surely that will come in handy some time!
The third book in the Texas True series is Texas Made. It’s Marshall Walker’s story. Marshall is a rancher who raises paint horses. For that I got to research about ranching, cowgirls, ranchers, and paints. There are some gorgeous pictures of paints. Of course, now I get a ton of horse picture suggestions from Pinterest. But that’s okay, I like horses.
I also have fun researching clothes and shoes. Or cowboy boots for several of my books. :) It’s amazing the vast array of cowboy boots you can find on Pinterest and the internet.
As I mentioned earlier, I love to look for people to represent my characters. For Gabe I had to look at pictures of Joe Manganiello. Tough job, but someone has to do it. :) For Chase I looked at pictures of good-looking cowboys. I look for women’s pictures too, but somehow they’re not as fun!
Things come up as I write the book. Stuff I had no idea I needed to research. I have to guard against stopping writing to research, but sometimes it’s necessary. Still, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself going down the rabbit hole. For instance, do you know what horse chestnuts and ergots are? Or did you know that professional rodeo horses are bred to buck? And last, but not least, I find things that have no bearing on the story I’m researching, such as baby giraffes in the zoo or names for groups of animals. I save all that stuff because you can never tell when you’re going to need to know about what the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer looks like now or the mating habits of antelope.
Do you find yourself reading about odd things on the internet? What’s the strangest thing you’ve looked up?
Eve Gaddy is the award winning, national bestselling author of forty novels. Her books have sold over a million copies and been published in many countries and several languages. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, romantic mystery, and a bit of paranormal romance as well.
Eve’s books have won and been nominated for awards from Romantic Times, Golden Quill, Bookseller’s Best, Holt Medallion, Daphne Du Maurier and many more. Eve was awarded the 2008 Romantic Times Career Achievement award for Series Storyteller of the year, and was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Innovative Series romance. She loves her family, books, electronics, the mountains, and East Texas in the spring and fall. She also loves a happy ending. That’s why she writes romance.