One of the best tools available to writers is the Internet. It puts the world at your fingertips. It has made researching my five novels a piece of cake. I can hardly imagine authoring a book without it.
When I write a novel I always set it in a location in which I’ve spent considerable time. It’s important to do this in order to get the “feel” for the location—scents, sounds, attitudes. However, I always need additional bits of information for my novels that I did not come across while visiting the country or city. Enter the Internet as a vehicle to find what I need. For example, in writing my novel, Murder Casts a Spell set in South Africa, I needed to know the color of uniforms worn by police officers. While writing Murder Down Under set in Australia, I needed a description of a mural in Alice Springs created by an Arrente aborigine artist. I found both the artist and the uniform colors on the Internet.
Although my major use of the Internet is to ensure authenticity in my novels, I also use it to locate general information and answers to just about any question I might have. And here’s the big bonus! During my research I always stumble on other information I can incorporate into my stories to make them more real.
If you have not already jumped into cyberspace, consider doing it today. I guarantee you will be as delighted as I am.