I am a big proponent of research trips for books. There is nothing like immersing yourself in a city where your book takes place. You see new things and get exact descriptions of the places your characters visit. It is a wonderful process. I try not to be too "Nashville-centric". I know it is convenient for authors to place their stories in their home towns. They know all the streets, buildings, etc, but I like to get out of my comfort zone. For some reason with this trilogy, I have focused on small to medium sized towns that are particularly run down. (I just think they seem like a great places to plot evil deeds.) Muhahahaha!
Last year I ventured out on my own to go on a research trip to Evansville Indiana for the second book in my horror series "The Adversary". At first I was kind of nervous driving by myself and wandering around a town that I was only sort of familiar with. I made a plan of places I wanted to go and include in the book and started with a with a haunted library. It was awesome. From there, I strolled around the city, marking addresses and taking notes on buildings and places where scenes would happen. I would end the nights hanging out in a microbrewery completely energized and inspired. (they must have thought I was a weirdo taking hand written notes at the bar)
Here is a shot of the Williard Library, apparently haunted by "The Grey Lady"
And here is a shot of the old Evansville Tuberculosis Clinic. Fallon encounters odd things at these buildings when she comes to America.
Not too long ago I started writing the third book in the trilogy, tentatively called "The Triumvirate". Sometimes I feel like I have too many "The's" in my titles... So I have been mulling over other titles. I digress. So in writing the Triumvirate, I hit a wall where Fallon, (The main character in the series) ends up making a trek to Stull Kansas and in her trip she has to pass through Kansas City. After Stull she has to stop in Adam's Tennessee, then on to Nashville. (Yeah I had to get it in there someplace right?) If you know anything about Stull Kansas or Adams Tennessee, you will get a hint of where I am going with this. (Adams is a frighteningly odd place) So I booked a trip on June 12th to fly into Kansas City where I will spend a few days skulking around with my laptop and notebook paper. I am renting a car and driving an hour out to Stull on Saturday. (Wish me luck as the place I am going is on private property)To wrap this up, I am sure I will give you a more detailed account when I go, so consider this a preview.
So what about you? Have you ever been on a research trip for your stories? If so, where have you been? What was it like? What inspired you not only about the trip, but what inspired you about the places you write about? Has anyone been to Kansas City? Let me know your experiences.