Research Intimidation by Donna Steele

Posted on Aug 18, 2014 by   17 Comments | Posted in Blog · Uncategorized

I have to admit I didn’t have to look far to do research for my latest work. Global warming information is in our faces right now and politics aside, something seems to be happening. I chose to go with an old virus in my civilization-ending story – it’s an entirely plausible theory, but what caught my eye in the research was the storms. 

The oceans will probably rise with as much melting as it going on, but probably not enough to harm me in the middle of North Carolina for a while. However, the tiny rise in temperature–really only one or two degrees–has really gotten the storms going. That drew me in. Of course there were Katrina and Sandy but I’m talking about the “new” tornadoes that seem to have cropped up. When I was a girl all of the pictures I saw were of those little twisty tornadoes like in the Wizard of Oz. Maybe that’s because there were fewer storm chasers and no YouTube but that’s not what we’re seeing now–tornadoes half a mile across, twin tornadoes that play off each other, they’re beautiful in a deadly sort of way and that information is right at our fingertips at any time of the day or night. 

We had blizzards this year, hundreds of them. And I can hear people saying, see, no global warming with that much snow but then you’re talking weather and stronger, more lethal weather again, caused by the warmer atmosphere which can hold and dump more moisture–so less snow, but giant blizzards to take the place of the smaller storms. Can you tell I got lost in all of the research? 

You have to be careful with the internet – there’s so much out there and if you’re really interested, you can get sucked in and forget why you’re there in the first place. Now I personally would not be researching underwear in 17th century England, but it’s there. 209,000 hits in .53 seconds. And the pictures were cool–different from my derechos but just as informative. So I tried vampires –16,800,000 hits in .28 seconds and they don’t exist! Well, maybe they do, there was quite a bit of conflicting information. 

My point is, don’t let the research for that book you’re working on (or avoiding) right now intimidate you or keep you from writing.  That can easily happen. It can overwhelm you and cause you to hide under the desk. Remember, unless you’re Larry Niven, you’re not going to truly understand the number theories of the Ring World, but that doesn’t mean you won’t write a great story. And since you’re in the FF&P blog, don’t let it stifle you either. Anything is possible with the imagination. We are the world builders, we can make our own rules here on Earth or anywhere else with just a few check-ins occasionally to keep the story within your bounds.  I certainly enjoy a good story with those vampires–especially when the writer makes me believe . . .


Women strong enough for love.

I write science fiction, paranormal and small town romance eBooks about women coming into their strength and having the courage to find and accept love.

As an empty nester with my beloved best friend and husband (who actually encourages this mad passion of mine) I write all the time – whether or not I have a pen or keyboard handy.

Ever since I learned to read—from Superman Comics, Dick, Jane and Sally held no appeal—I’ve wanted to write. The possibilities of science fiction have always drawn me and I’ve read them all.  There just needed to be a little more romance in them. I finally got up the courage and I’m delighted that I’m able to share these stories with you.

My premiere novel, a science fiction romance – Rth Rising – was released on March 3, 2012 through Rebel Ink Press. My romance eBooks Learning TrustHomecomingWelcome Home, Red Shoes,  Wraith’s Heart,  Nowhere for Christmas, The Melting, Book 1-The Infection are now available at all eBook sellers. Wraith’s Heartand Learning Trust are now also available in paperback through Amazon. 

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of RWA and the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.    



TWITTER  @steele_donna



17 Responses to "Research Intimidation by Donna Steele"

  1. Comment by Nancy Lee Badger
    August 18, 2014 8:14 am

    I agree. Research is necessary even when writing fiction. I want my readers to get a feeling they are living the story. Your own research in order to come up with series amazes me. With the ebola crisis in the news, how can we not believe a little infection can kill?

  2. Comment by Donna Steele
    August 18, 2014 8:27 am

    Thanks so much for having me here today!

  3. Comment by Merry Simmons
    August 18, 2014 9:01 am

    Thanks for your thoughtful article. I love to do research and know it’s easy to get swept away with finding information and not get to writing the book. BTW, I’ve done research on 18th century underwear, and there’s a lot of information out there. 🙂

    • Comment by Donna Steele
      August 19, 2014 9:13 am

      Merry, I admit I read more about that subject than I planned!

  4. Comment by Carol A. Strickland
    August 18, 2014 1:44 pm

    The thing I need to remember is to take notes as to where I found things, in case someone calls me on it or if I find conflicting info I want to check against. If I had a publisher, they might ask me how I arrived at such-and-such.

    Once I get this year’s batch of books out (it’s a long story) and get back to “regular” writing, I look forward to sending out real letters and interviewing in order to get some non-Internet knowledge, you know, like what an apprentice-level fire fighter and haz-mat worker on a space station (run by dinosaurs) might do on a day-to-day basis.

    Even Mr. Google might have a problem researching that.

    • Comment by Donna Steele
      August 19, 2014 9:15 am

      Carol – every book has a file and I have a list of sites I looked at. When the archeologists find it, they will be stunned.

  5. Comment by Lyndi Lamont
    August 18, 2014 7:40 pm

    Enjoyed your post, Donna. It is easy to get intimidated by research, but it can also be so much fun. An incurable virus is a very real scenario for a civilization-ending catastrophe. Sounds intriguing.

    • Comment by Donna Steele
      August 19, 2014 9:16 am

      Thanks, Lyndi – It’s been playing around in my mind for years and with all I’m reading now, I had to go ahead and get it down on paper.

  6. Comment by PK Corey
    August 18, 2014 8:37 pm

    Research is always tricky, most of my question haven’t really been something I could look up. I needed to talk with some one in law enforcement and a gun expert.

    I do know from your books

  7. Comment by PK Corey
    August 18, 2014 8:38 pm

    Sorry didn’t get finished. I’ve read all your books and each and every one rings completely true.

    • Comment by Donna Steele
      August 19, 2014 9:18 am

      Thanks so much! What catches my attention is sometimes when I research is I want a real restaurant on a real street wherever I am. Then I check the menu. It’s a dangerous place for me.

  8. Comment by Lilly Gayle
    August 18, 2014 9:57 pm

    I know what you mean about research. And, BTW, I loved The Melting! (I liked Learning Trust a lot too.)

    • Comment by Donna Steele
      August 19, 2014 9:19 am

      Thanks Lilly! LT was easier to research, my cousin owns that lake house for real – LOL!!

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