Open book blog hop – Research and me

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?

This is the theme for this weeks open book blog. I haven’t been able to participate for a while due to work commitment but things are improving on the work front and this topic includes my favourite word, research.

Those of you that read my blog regularly know that I love research. Most of my books and short stories have a strong historical setting and flavour and they are all based on true events, even the more modern stories.

My writing does not only involve history; it also involves ghosts. Ghosts are a perfectly wonderful way of introducing history into a book and also a strong and interesting story line. Well, that’s my opinion in any event.

My current research craze is WW1 and I am reading my third book about the entrance of America into the war. I’ve read two fiction books and I am now listening to a 31 hour story about the pilots in WW1. This book covers the famous English, American and German pilots and is completely fascinating.

Crazy research though? That is something else entirely. I take it to mean doing something to learn about a particular topic like skydiving so you can write about a character who skydives.

I don’t do crazy things; I am a chartered accountant, my husband is a chartered accountant, and my sons are computer nerds. Crazy things isn’t in our vocabulary. Both my sons have always been cautious boys and never did anything that could result in severe injury. I’m not sure if that is lucky or not, but I’ve never had a child with a broken bone or snapped tendon.

My idea of conducting research is to visit the places of historical interest to me. One example of this in South Africa is when we went to Fugitive’s Drift Lodge in January this year to see the Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana battle fields from the Anglo Zulu war in South Africa. We had a great time listening to the stories, exploring the battle fields and related museums and learning a lot about the history of this country. These battles were not well covered when I studied history at school.

Our trips abroad have been similar and we fill our days with tours of fascinating historical places such as the Buried Village in New Zealand, Dover Castle and the hospital in the tunnels, Jorvik Viking Centre in York, and many, many other museums, castles, stone age mines, and sometimes caves and nature reserves. I honestly cannot think of a single thing that would fall under the description of crazy that I have ever done.

Have you done anything crazy in the name of research?

You can read what other bloggers have done in the name of research here:

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/party/dcd0df93db194da5abca500d6d173ee4

If you’d like to participate, here are the rules:

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

45 thoughts on “Open book blog hop – Research and me

  1. I love your dedication to your research for your books – not all writers are so thorough, and it can be very off-putting for a reader. Spoiler alert on your research on the Yanks’ entry into WW1: they were late…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know, Clive. I have been listening to the detail about the La Fayette Flying Corps, the American pilots who flew for the French before America entered the war. It is interesting to listen to the American perspective and reasoning about their late entrance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess it felt distant to them back then, a long way away from them. I didn’t know the French had a flying Corps in WW1, let alone that it had American pilots!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The book I am listening too, To the Last Man by Jeff Shaara, shares fabulous stories and information about the pilots in WW1. I had no idea that airplanes played such a big role in that war. It is quite amazing, given that they also used horses and had cavalries.

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    1. Hi Jacqui, I must admit when I do research about wars, especially the world wars, I am sometimes overcome with horror at what mankind inflicts on its fellows. The conditions in the trenches and the ‘over the top’ policy make me shudder and really wonder about the minds that control this sort of thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do too. As I write my prehistoric novels, I’ve spent quite a bit of timing trying to find out when that idea that we should kill our own kind became part of our genetic makeup. I haven’t figured it out yet.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thirty-one hours? That’s thorough research! I don’t think I’ve ever done anything crazy, but I remember Sue Coletta saying that one time she had herself put inside a barrel (yes, lid on) to see what her character would feel. Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Priscilla, so far, this book is fascinating. I am learning so much that I didn’t know about American politics in Washington when Wilson declared war. This war was the beginning of the great American military we know today. Getting in a barrel is something I might do but one of the authors put an unloaded gun into her mouth. I don’t think the thought would even enter my head to do that. Shudder!

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  3. I guess it depends on how you define crazy and/or risk-taking, but I have one stand-out example.

    It is worth knowing that I am the world’s lousiest sailor. I got seasick on Loch Lomond, for crying out loud.

    Anyway, as part of my research for “Bayou Fire,” I took a trip on a Mississippi River sternwheeler boat … because one of my characters made an early living as a riverboat pilot. I figured I had to understand how it all worked … and that if I got sick, well, he was just going to have another career.

    I surprised myself with how well I did on the trip, to be honest. The Mississippi is still a dangerous river, deep and fast, although the amount of dredging done there makes it much easier to navigate.

    And Alcide Devereaux got to be a riverboat pilot. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi John, that is exactly right, the basic facts must be true. People rely on that in books. I often do 2 hours of research and it only results in a few sentences but those sentences are important to give context and flavour to the story.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is true that google has made research much easier. I still find that there is a lot of conflicting material out there and I have to check and recheck because some of it is just wrong. My findings mainly concern historical matters though, I am sure things like the venom of poison tree frogs would be correct. I research Amazon jungle creatures for one of my stories.

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    1. I don’t think I’ve even done that, Liz. I don’t think the opportunity has ever presented itself. I was reading one account where the writer put an unloaded gun into her mouth for research purposes. Such a thought would never cross my mind and where would I find a gun anyway?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your dedication to research shows in your work, Robbie. I prefer hands-on research when possible – visiting places that I need to learn about. Of course, that isn’t always possible, especially after COVID hit, but it’s still my favorite way to research. Thank you for sharing. Glad work has slowed down some for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan, thank you. I’m glad I am getting a break from Thursday for 10 days. I feel like a piece of chewed up string after the past few months. I like to visit places too but it is not always possible. I would like to visit the places that feature in my new book both in the USA and France but time will tell if that can happen.

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  5. Its never too late Robbie for crazy none of my kids ever broke bones/pulled tendons until that is when my eldest son grown up with kids of his own decided he could take a shortcut which meant navigating a fence…the rest is history as the idiot landed on his heel and shattered it…Back to research, I am not crazy either in my opinion…haha…but 31 hours of listening is pretty impressive 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooh, that sounds very painful for your son, Carol. Honestly, I can’t see Greg ever changing. Michael … well, when the girls start appearing things will change. 31 Hours is quite long, I usually stick to a maximum of 18 hours, but this book is very interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I know you’re highly dedicated to research, Robbie. You have such a passion for it. Like you, most of the research I do comes from reading books about the events and people I want to learn more about. I also have visited a number of historical sites or specific locations in the name of research. The most unusual one for me was the TNT in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the US where the Mothman was said to lurk.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you about wanting to read faster, Robbie. I get frustrated there are so many good books I want to read, but can’t get to them all. I think it’s the curse of every avid reader, LOL.
        And thank you for the compliment about my research. I always appreciate yours as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this, Robbie: I don’t do crazy things; I am a chartered accountant, my husband is a chartered accountant, and my sons are computer nerds. Crazy things isn’t in our vocabulary.
    I think I could say the same for me. And Hub says he’ll do anything I do, so he’s not much crazier either. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marvelous post, Robbie. As you know, I call myself a research geek. I don’t even write historical pieces, but I still research every little thing — even for purely fantasy stories. “Crazy research”… that just doesn’t seem smart to me. The only “crazy” things I’ve done were in the name of survival (and there were a few), but not research.
    I’m glad your job has calmed down some. Have a wonderful rest of the week. Hugs on the wing.

    Like

  9. A great topic, Robbie. This has come in Zoom meetings and it is usually good for a belly laugh. One comment was researching ‘blind dates’ for a story and explaining how the computer history does not reflect the love for our husbands. The descriptions make me smile. Not crazy… nerds… not breaking bones…hopefully no broken bones in the future. You are inspirational with your research.

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  10. Visiting places is exciting enough. I think you’re good. Crazy is the wrong type of excitement I think, sky diving and such fall under the right kind of excitement I think. Crazy is walking on the edge of high building to know what it feels like for a depressed character in your book who wants to commit suicide.
    I also think, that crazy imaginations should come. After all, life happens in reality but a great chunk of it goes on in our minds as well.

    Like

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