All novels require some sort of research. Whether it's watching Youtube videos of Kate Middleton attending a gala, lugging around tomes of Civil War books or eating dumplings in Chinatown.
Latest project (Motorcycles & Tattoos), has required a bit more in depth research than most of my books. It does involve maps and tomes of a war, but by far the best research I've done so far made me go outside. In the sunlight! (Believe me, when you start spending weeks on weeks in your writer's cave, this becomes a commodity).
Actually, it was my wonderful husband who surprised me. He's been very excited about Motorcycles & Tattoos, but has rightly insisted that I learn how to ride a motorbike. He told me we were going on a day-long date and brought me to a dirt bike course!!!
The point was to A) learn how to operate a motor-bike. B) learn how to drive said motor-bike over tumultuous terrain. I'm always up for acquiring new life skills, so I was really eager to get on and drive.
But first I had to put on a helmet that smelled oh-so-distinctly of sweaty boys. (Blurgh). My husband patiently guided me through the kickstart and the shifting of the gears. We practiced weaving around cones in a gravel lot. And then--THEN--we tackled this:
I think it's safe to say that this map was a mixture of happy, thrill and terror. (Combined those trails are hundreds of miles!!) Even the "easy" trails looked daunting, with hills and mud and sharp turns! We tackled it bit by bit. There were a few falls. A few expletives. Many bruises. I started to feel very, very bad for my main character.
Once we tackled the easy trail we moved on to "moderate."
Moderate saw an exponential rise in the expletive department. (Though, fortunately, this did not correlate with the bruises). And I felt even worse for my poor MC.
Though on the bright side, we did forage berries from the trail:
So, there you have it. I can now drive a dirt bike. And describe riding a motorcycle on less than pristine roads!