Friday, May 12, 2017

Research takes many forms by Jan Scarbrough

When I look back at the twenty-three novels and novellas I’ve written, I see I’ve done a variety of research.

First-hand research is always fun. Take the trips to Professional Bull Rider events that translated into scenes in Kentucky Cowboy, Brody, and Mercer. Oh, and last summer’s after-the-fact trip to a Montana dude ranch has given me more inspiration for upcoming books.

Kentucky Blue Bloods took me on a trip to horse country in the Bluegrass where I fed peppermints to the 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.

For my two novellas set in Christmas 1968 and Christmas 1969, I used the Internet to refresh my memory about that time. Bottom line, although I remembered those years as a high school student, I’d forgotten how hard they were. We think we have it tough today. It’s always been that way, I think.

And of course, for books like Kentucky Flame, I do research every week when I take my riding lesson and get a horse fix riding an American Saddlebred.

My Lord Raven has certainly been my most researched book. It took me many years of research into the medieval time period. I put the manuscript away (five chapters) but eventually took it out and finished it. Currently, I’m researching a sequel that I call Raven’s Vow.

So, what books do I currently have in my research pile? Here are a few, and you can see they are varied:

Even contemporary romance requires a little research. It’s part of the process.


  1. I love research. I always wish I'd done more of it after the book is finished.

  2. The neat thing about writing books is that we can write off our trips as research. (Provided the books earn enough to justify it!) I had many years early in my career where I never made enough in a year to pay for a trip to England--where my books are set. Thanks to indie publishing, now I'm taking every tax write-off I can get! Currently, I'm hiring German translators for all my books.

  3. Research is one of the fun parts of being a writer, isn't it?

  4. I once had a would-be writer tell me I couldn't write about a psychic because I wasn't one. Well, I've never lived in 1283 either or ridden a bull. LOL!


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