My favorite part of starting a new novel is the research. Truth be told, I probably add unnecessary elements to my stories just so I can research something like “poison dart frogs” and find out their venom is used for treating stomach ulcers (oh yeah – gotta fit that into the plot!!) Some stories don’t require a lot of research but when you have a protagonist like Fi Butters, a lover of all things odd and curious, you’ve got to keep your mind and a Google window open. That’s what happens when your characters are much smarter than you are, folks!
Of course, with the first Flipka book it was easy. The story is set primarily in Nevada, home to Giant Red-haired Cannibals, mysterious rock formations, prehistoric fish, whorehouses, nuclear fallout, Area 51, desert rats (the human kind), conspiracy theorists, UFOs, the Burning Man festival, the Virginia City Camel races, tumbleweed filled graveyards, the Cartwrights, plenty of goof ball politicians and, of course, Vegas. It’s a regular cornucopia of bizzarities waiting to be explored.
So you can understand my trepidation at setting the first part of Flipka 2 in the area near Hudson New York, home to farms and cows and cheese. What delicious oddities about Dairyland could Fi Butters manage to fit into one of her long rambling asides?
Well, luckily a headless horseman haunts that area, inspiring Washington Irving to write his classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The problem is, I currently have no idea how to fit a headless Revolutionary War trooper into Flipka 2. A possible rival to Professor Lopinski?
The good news is you can find plenty of oddities anywhere. The problem, how to fit them into your story! What sort of things have you stumbled upon while researching a novel that you just had to fit into a plot?
BTW: I’m considering adding a page to the blog for promoting writers who have specials going on their books or an upcoming release. What do you think? Would you be interested in participating?