Right now, my first culinary romance is out (SAFFRON NIGHTS), my second book in the series, CRAVINGS, is with my editor at Kensington and I am starting to write and research the third. I’m calling it HONEY, but that name may change. (Glimpse the crazy life of a series writer. Let’s not go into the fact that I also write another series under another name.)
I’ve long been fascinated by honey and bees. The more I read about them, the more fascinated I become. I long for the time, property, and money to dive in this hobby and keep my own bees.
So far my research is consisting of reading books and web research. The book I’m reading now is “Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey–The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World” written by a non-fiction writer, Holley Bishop, who became obsessed enough to get her own bees.
For my story, I don’t need to go into in-depth descriptions about how hives are built and hive-society works, and so on. But I think reading as much as I can about it will help to inform the story. For example, in doing this research, I’ve become enamored with skeps, those round straw-built hives and I may give my character a little antique collection of them. These little details are one of many that helps to give characters depth.
And I do need a more than a basic understanding about honey—after all the story is set around large honey business in Scotland.
My main female lead inherits a country farm in Scotland. At first I thought if might be France. But France with it’s perfect climate and upscale culinary appetite was a bit too easy for my beekeeping adventure. Scotland is fraught with weather adventures that challenge beekeepers. The more challenge the better.
So Scotland it is. And while France has a sex-appeal, Scotland is much more alluring and more sexy to me. Something about those highlands and the rugged wild nature of parts of Scotland that just makes my insides sit up and take notice. So to speak.
So I’ve been digging around a bit about Scottish country living and have even picked the kind of house Jennifer lives in. (If you follow me on Pinterest, I’ve got a research board full of gorgeous photos of Scotland.)
I also have a friend who lives in Scotland. She’s filled me in on things like the weather, how long the daylight hours are, and just how difficult it would be to have sex outdoors in most places in Scotland.
One of these days, I hope to be able to travel to the places I write about. The few times I’ve actually done that have turned out well. But, for now, it’s personal connections, books, and the internet. How about you? What kind of research methods work best for you?