Thursday, November 3, 2011

Research? I don't need no stinking research!

In case your wondering if I think that's true, its TOTALLY not. I did more research for my book than I did for my Masters Thesis (which is what I'm currently polishing up right now). Where my thesis is about school reentry for children with chronic illness (yeah, my day job is a little weird too), the research for my book was about much more mundane things that I had taken for granted. Researching got me up and out from behind my computer and out into my city.

For example, did you know that guns were some of the earliest products to use fully machined parts that intermatched and their production helped jump start the Industrial Revolution?

Did you know that Jeet Kun Do was created by Bruce Lee and focuses on kicking, punching, trapping, and grappling?

Did you know that some of Dallas's earliest settlers were French Utopians?

Is all of this information in my first book? No. Did it help in the writing of my book? Of course. The more I learned about things that my characters were interacting with, the easier it was for me to write. Even though I was researching completely mundane things I am surrounded by constantly (I live in Dallas with a man who things he's a ninja), the more Violet's Dallas came alive for me.

In fact, one of my favorite scenes in Diaries of an Urban Panther actually happened while I was researching how to shoot a gun. When Chaz teaches Violet how to shoot a gun, it was pretty spot on of how it really happened. There may have been more giggling.

In the second installment, Claws and Effect: Diaries of an Urban Panther (comes out in December), I had the basics down: Dallas, ninja moves, guns. The second book required more research about animals and coffee.

Did you know that a warthogs major predators are humans and large cats?

Did you know that espresso is 15 times more concentrated that coffee?

Did you know that a German Short-haired Pointer will tend towards destruction if not properly challenged by their masters?

I'm not saying that those are possible spoilers for the second book, but they were all interesting facts that I had to learn to make sure that Violet's second adventure was just as lush and alive as the first installment.

If you'd like to do a little research before the second installment of Diaries of an Urban Panther comes out, you can pick her up for only 99 cents at
Amanda Arista
Claws and Effect- out December 2011


Sharon Stogner said...

I did know some of those facts! I am such an info junkie . What a great price on your first book! and I love the name of the second, very clever.

Kim Falconer said...

Amanda, what a great post! I love the depth and diversity of research you've been doing. And, who could resist 'Claws and Effect!'


Amanda Arista said...

Kim- I also like using the excuse "i'm a writer, so can i ask/ see..." Its gotten me into some interesting places.

Helen Lowe said...

Amanda, like Kim I'm impressed with the eclectic range to your research--"and" I learned me a thing or two! I'm kinda intrigued now to see how it all fits into your story ... but shall have to 'wait and see!' :D

Terri Garey said...

I do the same thing, Amanda - I LOVE doing research when I'm writing a book, even if I only ending up using one teeny tiny part of what I learn about different topics, like vintage fashion or vintage jewelry, voodoo rituals, greek mythology, whatever. It's one the fun parts of writing, I think, and sparks my imagination!

Helen Lowe said...

Terri, Amanda: sometimes I think that as authors we "need" to know that stuff, even if we only use the tip of the iceberg, becasue it gives the writing authenicity--its as though the research knowledge gives the book an aura even if most of the material never makes it into the actual story.