It flat took my breath away.
Research is a pet project of mine, always, and for everything. I love to research. It would be great to get paid for research. Probably, out there somewhere, there is a job where I could Google everything all day long and get paid for it.
Until then, I explain my research habit by writing. ;-)
That's not the only reason I write, of course. I write, mostly, anyway, because I'm a control freak and writing allows me to achieve complete world domination on the page, at least. But it's always nice to have an outlet for my obsessive research about everything.
Take my latest project. I love old houses. And so when I decided to write a book about a girl in an old house, it had to be the perfect old house. It turned out, despite my control freak ways, that the style of the perfect old house wasn't a style I was familiar with AT ALL.
Which is the ironic twist of being a writer. You think you're in control, and then your characters show you who's really boss.
The style of the house is called Second Empire. I'd never heard of it before, so I did what I always do: research. And my research led me to an example in Savannah.
I saw it on a recent trip ... And, let me tell you, it was magnificent. I made my sister stop. I had to get out the car and take pictures. I wanted to go and knock on the door and ask if I could look around. I restrained myself.
And that is how Google can only take me so far. I had looked at lots of Second Empire homes on the web. But I never lost my breath when I looked at the pictures.
I did lose my breath in real life. And being there, seeing it, has helped me see it from my characters' perspective.
And I can see it all the better if I could get in that house! ;-)