I’m always up for a good road trip, especially if it includes research for a future novel.
In just a few weeks my husband and I will embark on a 10-day road trip up the East Coast of the U.S. We’ll start in Louisiana and drive through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia to Maryland. I’m so looking forward to it.
Anyway, the point of this post is about book research on location. So, when this trip started forming months ago, and we decided to drive instead of fly there was one stop I knew we had to make along the way – Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.
We’ll only be able to spend about five hours there, but I am looking forward to it. The number one reason is that there is a store there dating back several centuries ago called Tarpley and Thompson Company. Tarpley is my maiden name, so I have wanted to visit this store for many years now. I’ve done genealogy research on my family and traced us back to the 1700s in Georgia and South Carolina, so it’s not a stretch that the man who started the store could be related to me. And it’s all quite fascinating!
The second reason to visit is that I already had the inspiration for a novel set there. I’ve done research of all the interesting places to see in the Revolutionary City to make sure I don’t miss seeing something I believe might inspire my current novel idea.
Their official website contains a lot of useful information as well as an interactive map of the whole city and its many points of interest. After completing the initial online research, I feel now I can visit and have an open mind for the story to start taking form before my eyes. I’m sure many of you fellow writers have done plenty of preparation before a research trip.
I’d love to hear a bit about how you prepared. Any advice or tips? What’s been one of your favorite research trips whether on location or online? What did you enjoy most about it?
Morgan Tarpley is an award-winning newspaper reporter and photographer in Louisiana. She is also a historical novelist currently seeking representation. Besides writing and traveling to over a dozen countries, her interests include acting in her local theater, genealogy, photography, and singing. She resides in Louisiana with her husband.