Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you today.
Everyone here in New York has been gearing up for the big parade down Fifth Avenue. On my way to the office this morning, I saw a woman wearing one of those horned helmets with the fake braids–except the horns were green and the braids were red. I thought to myself, She can’t decide whether she’s a Viking or an Irishwoman. And then I remembered–thanks to having read Diana Groe‘s ERINSONG–that the Vikings invaded Ireland, and so the mix would really only be natural.
I can’t tell you the number of Jeopardy questions I’ve been able to answer from what I’ve learned in romance novels. It goes to reinforce how vital research is and how much it can add to a story.
It also can be a glaring standout when not done properly. I recently read that John Grisham had to change huge sections of his latest release after realizing there was no law school at Princeton. A little research ahead of time probably would have saved him days of grief.
As an editor, there’s no way I can know every period detail (much as I’d like to). But I also don’t have the time to fact-check each reference. Usually if something questionable comes up, I flag it for the author to take a look at in revisions and we go from there. And then it’s one more nugget to squirrel away for later.