The Blood of Faeries - Research 101
Today I'll share with you some of the research that went into The Blood of Faeries. I also have a giveaway running through February 20th associated with Kerry Blaisdell’s new release Burying the Dead. Read on to learn more.
Some authors enjoy the heck out of doing research. I'm not a member of that camp. I’m not against research, honest! For me, it's all about time. Writing takes time—there's planning, banging out the rough draft, and editing. All in all, I take roughly nine months to produce a marketable manuscript. Once I submit it to my publisher, there are probably another six to nine months (maybe not nine but more than six) before the release date.
Like many authors, writing doesn't pay the bills in my household. Hopefully, with a bit of persistence and good fortune, it will keep the lights on one day. But until then, the dreaded day job takes up eight-plus hours a day, five days a week. Pile family commitments on top of that (I have my certified soccer starlet chauffeur card in the glovebox), and the hours I spend writing are few.
Despite all that, I persist in writing daily with only a few exceptions. This is to say that for the busy author, time is as precious, perhaps even more valuable, than gold. That's one of the reasons I'm a firm believer in writing what you know. It allows me to infuse my writing with a sense of realism without spending hours and hours researching a subject. That's not to say I don't do any research. I do. I have to! I need to double-check my facts now and again to keep my contextual faux pas to a minimum. Luckily, I write YA fantasy, specifically contemporary urban fantasy in the case of The Allison Lee Chronicles, so I'm not striving for historical accuracy like an author of historical fiction. Thus, I do only as much research as necessary to achieve verisimilitude.
I knew I’d need to do some upfront research for The Blood of Faeries because Allison and her squad travel beyond the confines of the Pacific Northwest to Asia. I have traveled some in Southeast Asia, but I knew I needed to supplement my firsthand knowledge with research to give my writing the sense of realism I desired.
Where in Asia do Allison and her squad visit, you ask. Good question. At first, North Korea was a leading candidate. This provided two problems. First, I have never been to North Korea. Secondly, as my wife pointed out, choosing North Korea as a location for nefarious activity might be seen as a political statement. I briefly considered China but finally settled on Singapore.
Why Singapore? Well, I have visited there. My wife attended high school in Singapore, and we have family there. To describe the airport and the city in general, I drew upon personal experience. Changi Airport is a truly astounding place and a pleasure to visit. Singapore is a gastronomic paradise, and the eating at the airport draws locals. Also, the tallest indoor waterfall in the world is a marvel. I was also familiar with other landmarks, such as the famous Merlion statues and the Marina Bay Sands.
I supplemented my experience with Internet research to accurately describe Singapore's landmarks. Does the Marina Bay Sands have two towers or three? Those kinds of questions. However, I needed a secluded location where a bit of skullduggery could occur. Anyone who has been to Singapore knows that it's a densely packed island with a security apparatus that can seem all-encompassing, at least to a tourist, and laws some westerners view as draconian. Given these realities, you might wonder where the antagonistic forces would set up shop.
As it turns out, Singapore possesses a multiplicity of outlying islands—sixty-four, to be precise. Some of these islands are uninhabited. There are also numerous bunkers and pill boxes left over from World War II, so it was easy to invent an outlying island with restricted access due to a vast bunker installation dating from World War II, including dangerous unexploded ordnance. In other words, the perfect location for disreputable activities.
That's my research approach, only as much as needed to achieve sufficient realism for a YA urban fantasy. That's not to say I won’t pursue a more research-intensive project one day. But not yet. For now, I barely have enough time to write and rewrite, let alone spend it on copious research.
Looking for your next great read? Look no further than The Blood of Fairies. Dan Rice takes readers on a dark, edgy fantasy adventure they won't soon forget. - N.N. Light