Monday, May 10, 2010
Poisons and police procedures
This week I got some writing books in the mail. Courtesy of Writer's Digest, who was having a sale, I got four new books.
A couple of them might raise some eyebrows. You see, they are all about poisons and police procedures. (The other two are on how to write mysteries.) I've been toying with the idea of writing a mystery series, and my hero/detective's super-power is his interest in all things botanical. He's a frontier physician at a Cavalry fort, and he's interested in the medicinal properties of plants and the Native American uses for prairie flora. Hence a book on poisons.
I have research books on my bookshelf, some about how to write, and others about specific eras, people, and places in history. Catalogs from 1890, fashion books, biographies of famous Minnesotans, books about lighthouses, logging, railroads, stagecoaches, forts, cowboys, and orphanages. Prison camps, racial tensions, the Progressive Era in Minnesota, frontier travel, frontier medicine, mining,....the list goes on and on.
I love history books. I love reading about places and people of long ago and dreaming about what their lives must've been like, about how they met the challenges of living in their era. I love reading about cataclysmic events, then wondering how ordinary people rose to the occasion.
So, what is the most unusual research you've done for a book? An interview? A field trip? A strange book?