Digital tools I use

For research, there are various sources that I turn to, depending on what I need to find out. As I’ve mentioned, there are two main moments of research: before I’ve started writing, and once I’ve written and want to verify something.

I usually start with Google, unless there’s a specific website I’m looking for that I’ve already glanced at or bookmarked.

For names, I go to Behind the Name, Nameberry and BabyNames.

For geography (distances), I turn to Google Maps.

For some stuff, I turn to Wikipedia—but I also check the references included to see how up-to-date the information is, and whether I should be looking somewhere else for more details, too.

For historical issues (for example, about the Regency Era), there’s Jane Austen’s World, Kristen Koster’s website, and Regency History. Of course, this depends on what sort of information I’m looking for: etiquette, customs, currency, clothing, modes of transportation…

For The Five, I also checked (and printed out for easy access, as I kept going back to them) calendars of the moon cycles for the years in which the novels were set, as full moons directly affected what was happening.

I’ve used Goodreads and specific authors’ websites to look for quotes for birthdays (unless I’d already read the books and had selected them previously).

YouTube can also come in handy for brief history lessons, although it’s the trickiest site of all. How can I stop myself from spending hours upon hours watching videos? Especially if dogs are involved.

Research can be a fun part of the writing process; I love learning random bits of information, although sometimes, when writing fiction, the freedom that comes from being able to make up stuff is pretty great.

What are the sources you usually turn to?

Moira Daly

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