Thursday, July 29, 2010

A New Journey in Research

You never know where research will take you. Well, at least this is what I've found out while researching my books. I love to go to different places and find out about legends and myths. There is adventure in exploring an area and using the description as some setting in your book. This is the joy of writing and researching. They seem to go hand and hand, and they are a very creative, fun step in the writing process.

I recently got back from an adventure in London. I wanted to return to the British Museum book room that had a range of information on things in the museum. I learned the book room had been closed and all the books moved to the British Library in another part of London.

The British Library in London
So, off I went to investigate. I am proud to announce I'm the new proud owner of a British Library card. The librarian got excited when she learned I was an author researching my third book. And I must say, I did find some interesting legends and myths on dwarves and dragons, which I'm focusing in on the third book. Plus, a changeling will play a pivotal part. So, I researched as much as I could on that.

The third book is turning into an adventure that will involve dwarves. So, I was thinking I needed more than just information about legends. I wanted some hands on experience of something that is closely associated with dwarves, mines.

The next logical step would be to find a mine. Luckily, I live in California, and it is famous for the Gold Rush and the many mines in Gold Country, the Sierra Mountain foothills where much of the gold was panned and mined during the Gold Rush. On July 24, 2010, I headed onto Route 49, the highway that connects many of the gold rush boomtowns. And yes, found myself a gold mine.

Tiffany Turner on the Sutter Gold Mine Tour

The Sutter Gold Mine is located off of the old Route 49 which leads through the old boomtowns. Complete with red construction hat, I was driven on a miners' transport truck 200 ft. underground. There was a chance to walk around and look at the white quartz. Veins of the quartz contain the gold. It is mined and processed as gold ore. The walls were testimonies to the hard working miners that had blasted out the tunnels I traversed.

Unfortunately, the price of gold dropped to around $200 an ounce, and the mine closed in the early 90s. Of course, now the price of gold is around $1,000 an ounce. Talk of reopening the mine has been going on for 10 years. However since it's closure, it's being used to give tourists going through the area a look at a real gold mine, both modern and historical.

When you write a story that often includes crystals, a good exploring research trip wouldn't be complete without discovering a new kind of crystal. I walked into the On Purpose Higher Awareness Book Store in Sutter Creek, and found a fabulous new crystal stone to inspire me for my next book. It's called Septarian or "Dragon Stone". It's a type of fossil stone that includes clay sediment wrapped with ancient shells that formed together with calcite crystal. I leave the beautifully polished stone on my nightstand to inspire me as I write.

This is why I love researching for my books. You have to bring a little of real life into fantasy to make it believable. To go and experience your settings and base them on real adventures breathes life into writing. Writing from experience is the best way to drive writing, and of course, it makes the research an enjoyable part of the writing process.

Writing Exercise:
What can you research and write about?
Post comments and ideas below, and I can share them in a future blog.

1 comment:

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Hi Tiffany, what a great post. Like you, I never know where my research will take me. That makes it exciting, doesn't it?

By the way, I found your blog via the Author Blogs post on the Kindleboards. :-)

Cheryl Kaye Tardif