The Importance of Research

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UntitledAs an author, it’s our job to invite you into a story that is entirely fiction while being as fact-based as possible.

It doesn’t matter whether the heroine in picking fruit in medieval England, or the hero is putting out a fire in modern-day Boston, the facts are important. Was that particular fruit grown in England in 1238? Does our hero belong to a squad, a crew, or a team?

On a daily basis, the words authors put on the page rely on the ability to decide what facts are important, research them, then present them in a way that is part of the story rather than a ‘data-dump’ of interesting information that does nothing to push the story forward.

In reality, our lives are a bit like this.


KathrynLeVeque_DeWolfePackSeries_LogoAs many of you know, the wonderful Kathryn Le Veque has been given her very own kindle world based on The Wolfe. There are several lovely Embracing Romance authors involved. To write a book for her world, the authors chosen need to write stories connected to the original De Wolfe pack novels.

If you’ve read The Wolfe, you’ll know that this historical epic has a contemporary epilogue set in modern-day San Diego between Wade Wolf, a Navy SEAL, and nurse Jeremy Scatler (who in her words, was meant to be a boy). I’ve been asked to write a novella for their story. But I know nothing about SEALs. About the way they talk to each other, what terms they use to discuss their missions, what do they do when they are not OTW (which I now know means Over or Outside The Wire).

When I set out to research a book, the first point of call is facebook. I prefer to talk to a real person who is actually an expert in the field I am interested in. I find the internet a maze of good and bad information and it takes a while to figure out which sources of information are accurate. So I put out an open call to my network to see if anybody is, or knows someone who is, the expert I am looking for.

All of this means I have spent the last few days talking with various US Naval experts, and yes, SEALs!!! Just the very idea makes me feel all swoony. There’s just something about a man in uniform… perhaps I was too heavily influenced by this moment in An Officer and a Gentleman.

Thanks to these fine men, I now know my O5 from my CO, my tac-p from my terp, and what being asked what chock I am on means. (I also found out that if you soak sour candy in tequila until they start to go jellified, it tastes really, really good… hey, who said we always stay on topic?)

It’s Regency month here on Embracing Romance, and it’s well known that it is one of the most difficult genres to write because of the volume of research required. Regency writer Jo Beverly posted this detailed guide to English titles in the 18th and 19th century. I’ll leave you with this wonderful example of how to name a Duke’s wife as an example of why research is so important.

“NOTE that the duke will also have a family name, ie. surname (such as Cavendish) but will not use it in the normal course of events. The duchess does not use the surname at all. If Anne Pitt marries the Duke of Stone (whose family name is Cherry), she will be Duchess of Stone and will informally sign herself Anne Stone, not Anne Cherry.”

~ Scarlett xoxo

p.s. My book The Strongest Steel has been turned into audio book read by the lovely Laurel Wilson. It is available for preorder here, and will be available on October 27th.



Follow Scarlett Cole:

Scarlett Cole is a contemporary romantic suspense / contemporary romance author. All four books in her debut series, SECOND CIRCLE TATTOOS, are published by St. Martin’s Press and available now. When Scarlett isn’t writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit. Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Los Angeles. Twitter: @itsscarlettcole Facebook: Website:

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3 Responses

  1. Barbara Monajem

    Writing in a Kindle World sounds likes great fun, Scarlett.

    BTW, when will Book 2 of your series come out?

  2. Violetta Rand

    Research is one of the key ingredients for a brilliant story! So happy we’re in De Wolfe Pack together!

  3. Ally Broadfield

    Love the “last night.” I do as much research as possible before I start writing a new book, but I always find myself having to do more research as I write.