I am a research junkie. In my other life, I’m an academic and my favourite part of any project is doing the research. Having said that, researching for a fantasy novel (like Five Corners) is a bit different than researching for an academic paper.
First, I use a lot of Internet resources. So if I’m unsure about something I’ll Google it and spend a bit of time scrolling through various web pages and such. The other thing I do is talk to people who really might know. For example, when I was writing the training scenes between Kiara and Tom and the blacksmith, I had my friend Rochelle read over those scenes careful because I had no experience doing hand to hand combat. Rochelle trains in martial arts so she was able to give feedback as to where those scenes were believable or not (yes, I had to edit significantly).
I also do much of my research by paying attention to the world around me. I’m not a teenager but I am surrounded by teens. In fact, I often prefer to spend time with them than people my own age – sssh, don’t tell anyone! And I listen to what they are talking about rather than what the media would have us believe. I think that the media is so focused on sensationalism that we need to be careful what we take away from it. By talking to young people and really listening to them, I find I get a great insight into what is important to them in the world.
The other huge research tip I would give would be to read lots of books in your genre. Young Adult Fantasy novels are my favourite (and, yes, I get completely addicted to series just like everyone else). I write in that genre because it’s my favourite genre to read.
Finally, use life as your library (not to discount actually doing library research as well). Keep your eyes open as to what is happening right outside your front door and use that to inform your writing. By doing every day research you’ll find your story rings with sincerity. And that is what we, as readers, adore.
Five Corners: The Marked Ones
Growing up in a sleepy village untouched by distant wars and political conflicts, it was easy for Thia, Mina and Kiara to forget such horrors existed in the Five Corners. That is until the dead child is found; a child that bears the same strange birthmark that all three sisters possess. A Mark their mother had always told them was unique to the girls.
Kiara’s suspicions grow as their Inn is soon overrun with outsiders from all walks of life. Strangers, soldiers and Elders who all seem to know more about what is happening than the girls do.
After Mina barely survives an attack in the forest, the sisters are faced with a shattering secret their mother has kept from them for years. As danger closes in around them, the sisters are forced from their home and must put their trust in the hands of strangers. With more questions than answers, Kiara finds herself separated from everyone she loves and reliant on an Outlander who has spent too much time in army. She doesn’t trust Caedmon but she needs him if she has any hope of being reunited with her sisters and learning what the Mark might mean.
Excerpt:"It's not a dream this time, Thia."
"I know," she admitted in a whisper. "But how is this happening?"
Teague shook his head at her, his hair falling forward over his forehead. "I know you're shocked. I was, too, when I first saw you. Then I realized that what we thought were only dreams, were just forays into a different reality." Excitement lit up his features. "A reality that, at times, feels more real than this one, don't you agree?"
Thia opened her mouth to deny what he was saying, even as a dozen memories burst to life in her head.
For the first time Thia noticed he was taller than in her dreams. Not as tall as her sisters but certainly taller than she.
He looked down at her, his eyes unreadable in the fading afternoon light.
And yet the essence of him was so familiar. Before she could stop herself Thia instinctively reached out to touch his forearm, wanted to feel the warm muscles above his gloves, to reassure herself that he was real.
Teague jerked away before she could reach him and Thia felt an inexplicable sense of hurt flood through her.
"I'm real, Thia," he whispered aloud, his breath stirring the hair on her forehead. "But you can't touch me. I can't explain right now but please don't try."
Cathi Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children. She is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she teaches rhetoric and professional writing in the Department of Communications at Okanagan College and is the co-author of the textbook Writing Today.
Buy links for book:
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/five-corners-cathi-shaw/1117922571?ean=9781939156242
Readers, the author is giving away a $50 gift certificate from Amazon/B&N. You can enter at the following address. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e43482 You can find the tour schedule at http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/01/virtual-book-tour-five-corners-marked.html