On Research


My Research Method

It’s in the research that a story begins to emerge. In writing all my novels, I needed a way of organizing a mountain of material (without being buried under it). This page outlines the basic research process I evolved….Read more


About the research for Mistress of the Sun

A reader wrote: “You go into great detail in this novel—the descriptions of the clothes, jewelry, palaces, food, parties, etc. paint a very vivid picture. How did you research Mistress of the Sun? Was there anything about 17th Century France that surprised you?”

I love studying the details of daily life more than any other aspect of the research. It’s an endlessly fascinating subject…Read more

Research Tools

Need a straightforward list of software and other things to help research go smoothly? This is my go-to list of resources I couldn’t live without…Read More

Research: the perfect excuse for the procrastinating writer

I’ve been obsessed for two days, trying to find the hôtel (home) of la Comtesse d’Armagnac (Catherine de Neufville de Villeroy), who gave a very fancy party for the King and select members of the court on December 14, 1665…Read More

Travel research tips for writers of historical fiction

I recently received this e-mail from a reader:
I am working on a manuscript of historical fiction and plan on traveling to the sites associated with my tale (Wales). I was wondering if you had any advice you could share as to how you visit the places in your stories…Read More

On organizing research: citation information, bibliography & notes

I’m at sixes and sevens today (a soon to be Mother-of-the-Bride, so understandable). Even my 100-word writing minimum is a challenge. At such times, I turn to organizing research. It’s important to do, and it doesn’t require creative energy.My system for organizing research texts is simple…Read More

The Discovery of France

Amazon.com: a research tool?

I use Books Google and Gallica often for research, but I’ve only recently begun using Amazon.com in this way.

It’s excellent. Because of the “Search inside” feature, I am able to read references to practically any subject, searching for things often too elusive …Read More

On the thrill of research

“Digging in at the Archive” is a wonderful Grub Street blog post by Boston writer Cam Terwilliger. On finding in archives writing by the character he’d been researching and writing about…Read More