For my debut novel, Starquest I needed to be sure that when I wrote about star drives and planetary conditions I had my facts right. I didn’t want to bore readers with facts or figures, but I did want to be sure that the events I depicted were logical and might be possible in the future. Much of Starquest takes place on a starship, so I wanted conditions on board to be as accurate as possible, and I also wanted to try to put across some of my heroine’s love for space and the stars, and for the ship she hires to take her in search of her lost love. So I did a lot of research into theoretical drives, and propulsion systems, life support and artificial gravity, etc. I only used a smidgeon of what I learnt, but hopefully it helped to make the final result realistic and plausible.
Then, for my research into the background of my story Dancing with Fate I needed to delve not only into Greek mythology, but because I set the story in Celtic Wales, I also drew on the myriad Welsh folklores and legends, as well as the Arthurian legends. I love reading myths and legends, so really this research was more of a pleasure than a chore, the difficulty was in not getting too carried away and sidetracked!
Only a very small fraction of what one learns in ones research will ever be actually used, but learning itself is a rewarding and wonderful process, with the bonus that occasionally something you pick up in your research might spark off a totally new story.