When planning the manuscript of my third book, Brooklyn, I knew I’d need to do a little research. For most of my writing career, I had followed sage advice: “write what you know”.
That advice had carried me well through the publication of two prior books. But my title character for this third novel would be a college professor. And while I had vast experience in education, I didn’t know much about the life of a professor.
So, I turned my attention to Spelman College in Atlanta. I knew Spelman’s campus was the perfect setting for me to research college life. I contacted a professor in the English department and got clearance to spend the day with her.
It was a great experience. I sat in on two English classes and got an opportunity to interview her in her office. After my meeting, I walked around the yard, toured the campus museum, shopped at the campus bookstore and wandered until my heart was content.
This gave me first-hand information for my book. And made my writing process a smooth one.
While authors should ‘write what they know’, there comes a time when researching certain topics will be necessary. So, go and expand your experiences. It will make your writing great!