But my favorite part of writing is the research. I really like sitting down with people and talking with them, and finding out all about a particular part of their lives. Everybody has a story, and each of those stories is so interesting.
Plus, I really, really like to get things right. Nothing bugs me more when I'm reading a book then when I see an error that could've easily been avoided if the writer had simply looked it up on Google.
Or when someone is writing about a person in a different part of the country, and the writer uses her own perspective. A "for instance" that sticks in my head: I once read an otherwise pretty good book about a midwestern girl who was relocated to the South in the 60s. Her first breakfast? Not grits. Oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal.
Honestly I don't know of any self-respecting Southern cook that would have served up a steaming bowl of oatmeal for breakfast in 1965. The question would have been, "Honey-child, you want fried eggs or scrambled with your grits? Sausage or bacon or maybe some fried ham?" Grits were the default answer to what was for breakfast south of the Mason-Dixon Line up until the 80s.
I realized how hard it is to write from a different perspective when I made the mistake of writing a book with the heroine from the Pacific Northwest. Lucky for me, I had a critique partner who was from the Pacific Northwest, and she kept me straight on all of the many attitudes and characteristics that I had wrong. We Southerners are a strange tribe.
I have started on the third book in the Georgia Monroes series, and already I'm finding many reasons not to put pen to paper, but to run my mouth. There is always another question that needs to be asked. There's always something else that I need to go see for myself. And even so, even with all the care I put into it, I know that I'm not going to get everything right. But it won't be for lack of trying.