My research for FORSAKEN, my latest HQN, taught me more about sheep and sheep herding than I will ever need unless I get a flock. Did you know that if a sheep falls on its back, it can’t get up again without help?
For an upcoming Intrigue, WEDDING AT CARDWELL RANCH, I learned about wedding planning, séances and how to have someone declared dead without a body.
I’ve learned how to break horses, how to make Texas barbecue, and that grizzly bears go through a hyperphagia phase in the fall where they go from eating 8,000 to 20,000 calories a day – all in the line of duty.
In my upcoming HQN, ATONEMENT, I had to learn about Henry rifles used in the Civil War and home childbirth. I’ve researched lost treasure, cattle rustling, the geology of mountains and spent many hours learning about Montana history.
Most of what I learn never gets into the books. No one wants to know everything I’ve learned about crows just because my Beartooth, Montana sheriff has spent years studying them for his own enjoyment.
But for me what makes a book good is the research that is woven into the story. It doesn’t hurt to learn something new when you read a book – as long as if doesn’t slow down the pacing.
It does make it hard though to get away with murder when the local coroner supplied you with the name of poison.