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Friday, October 7, 2016

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST AUTHOR TERESA INGE

Teresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn't carry a rod like her idol, but she hot rods. Combining her love of reading mysteries and writing professional articles led to writing short fiction and a novel. Learn more about her and her writing at her website.

Why is research important to location?

I love it when I start a new mystery. This usually means a road trip where the story takes place to research the setting. 

When researching Corked for Murder” in Virginia is for Mysteries, I toured Williamsburg Winery and took pictures of oak barrels, machinery, and asked lots of questions. But as the wine flowed so did my ideas when a bridal party entered the tasting room. One woman in the party was inebriated and inspired a drunken bridesmaid that "corked" the murderous plot in my story.

On another trip, I visited the historic Cavalier on the Hill hotel in Virginia Beach to research “Guide to Murder.” 

When I arrived, I noticed a hotel tour guide. This inspired me to write a murder about a tour. I then explored the hotel to determine the murder location. I also learned that doorways had lower heights during the 1930’s and people were not very tall. A great tip for creating characters.

But what should authors do when they cannot visit a location?

Start with a Google map. Learn the area’s main corridors and population. Research the general history, culture, seasonal changes and weather conditions. Check out historical societies and museums to expand your knowledge. You’ll be surprised what you learn before you start writing your story. When writing the play “Murder on the Lafayette,” I based it on two brothers who grew up on the Lafayette River in Norfolk. During my research, I learned the river was originally named Tanner’s Creek so I gave the brothers the last name Tanner and viewed maps of the river in the 1800’s.

Since research is vital for an accurate setting, take time to obtain the knowledge you need for your readers. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll be when writing about different locations.

Virginia is for Mysteries
Virginia may be for lovers, but to nineteen authors, Virginia is for Mysteries: Volume II. The anthology of nineteen short stories, set in and around the Commonwealth, features Virginia landmarks and locations such as Virginia Wine Country, the Poe Museum, Luray Caverns, Colonial Williamsburg, the Great Dismal Swamp, Nimrod Hall, the Barter Theater, and Mill Mountain, to name a few.

The stories transport readers across the diverse backdrop of the Old Dominion to a unique and deadly landscape, filled with killers, crooks, and criminal.

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20 comments:

Teresa Inge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose Shomaker said...

I really enjoyed Teresa Inge's summary of how she researches story settings. She's a good example of "Writing it Right." You know that if readers find an error in your location, you'll hear from them. Writers always like to hear from readers; still, writers want to make the setting as authentic as possible.

Allie Marie said...

As a writer who has also researched local settings to include in my story lines, I can appreciate the effort Teresa has made in her stories and described here. Visiting sites when possible helps the author authenticate the locale, but as a reader, I can easily transport myself to the locations described in the anthology. It makes the story fun!

Heather Weidner said...

Good post on research. It's amazing how much research goes into writing fiction.

Lyn Brittan said...

Well said! Research is that heavy background work that brings it all together.

Maria Hudgins said...

Very important. The writer's job is to take the reader to the location. When I'm visiting a place for a story, I don't forget the smells and sounds of the place. Use all five senses.

Teresa Inge said...

Thank you, Rosie! I love visiting the places I write about to do my research!

Teresa Inge said...

Thank you, Allie! I always love reading your books and seeing the time you take to research as well.

Teresa Inge said...

Thanks, Heather! It's one of my favorite things about writing is to research the setting!

Teresa Inge said...

Thanks, Lyn! Yes! Lots of work involved in getting the setting right. It's my favorite!

Teresa Inge said...

Thanks, Maria! I love reading your books and have learned so much from you about setting!!

Teresa Inge said...

Thanks for all the great comments about research and setting!

Grace Topping said...

Hey, Theresa -- Great seeing your post here. Hope you are doing well. Thanks for the good information. You made me laugh--that Tanner's CREEK turned into a RIVER. Either the water flow greatly increased or the renaming was all a matter of perspective. Congratulations on another terrific anthology.
Grace

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Teresa, I will be using this advice to prepare for writing my next novel. Thanks!

Teresa Inge said...

Awesome!! It helps me to research main corridors for my settings. I once found that a main road in the Outerbanks floods easily. So that helped as well. Thank you!

Teresa Inge said...

Thank you, Grace! I hope to see you at Malice next year!

KrisM said...

Great suggestions, Teresa! The internet has given authors a huge advantage in their research, though nothing beats visiting the location personally. And LOVED reading "Corked for Murder." Wine + bride + murder = a fun, twisty read!

Teresa Inge said...

Thank you, Kris! Love your story, "A Colonial Grave." You have just the right details about Colonial Williamsburg!!

Maggie King said...

Thanks for a great post, Teresa. Writers often hear "Write what you know." But writers write what they don't know and that's where research comes in.

I didn't know (or forgot) that you wrote a play! How cool.

Teresa Inge said...

Thanks, Maggie! I wrote a play that was performed this year! It was lots of fun doing the historical research on it. Love your books and short stories too!