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This month's question:  What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?
Great question, so I think I'll talk about that!

Actually, I've long had a joke about some of the things we writers of murder mysteries research, and how long it will be before the cops are knocking on my door. But honestly, most of what I've checked for the murders is pretty mundane. You know, drugs that would mimic a heart a attack, drug interactions that might cause an actual heart attack, what time the sun sets in Bellingham in mid-August...

The most fun I've had researching stuff has all gone into a couple of books I've never brought to the point of finishing for publication. One I probably never will, as it is actually a sort of fan fiction: the "other side" of the story of Rilla of Ingleside, the last of the Anne of Green Gables books, set during WWI. I was never satisfied with the behavior of Rilla's love interest, so I spent years researching WWI (from the Canadian point of view where possible), and wrote his version of the story. Along the way I became totally fascinated with WWI, and discovered several writers whose books are set during or just after the war. Maybe sometime I'll write my own historical mystery.

Along the way, in addition to the war, I researched parenting manuals of the period, which make for entertaining reading!

The other unfinished historical fiction is based on my grandmother's childhood. That one I still want to make work, but I'm in no hurry, as historical fiction isn't selling well for kids these days. Maybe that will change? Meanwhile, the story percolates, and I have a large collection of information about Nebraska in 1900 and Okanogan County, WA, in 1908. I even found someone (sadly, the contact info is lost, though I think I still have the information he sent) who could help me figure out how someone would take the train from Nebraska to Spokane.

But the coolest thing I found was a book on life in the Nebraska sandhills, in which the author mentions the best teacher he ever had--my great-grandfather.

Your turn--tell me something you've researched that might get you in trouble or make us laugh.

Part of the Nebraska research included visiting the Sand Hills and trying to find the site of the "town" where my great-grandparents lived. Somewhere around here.


Or more like here. This was as close as we were able to drive; the road became too sandy for our 2-wheel-drive. Apologies for photo quality. These are low-quality scans of slides that weren't so good to start with.
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!