Well, that’s where research comes in.
Now, I love research, and right now, I’m researching something I’ve always been interested in – modern and ancient Egypt. The problem? Trying to blend fact with not only fiction, but paranormal fiction, and strangely enough, while there is a ton of information about ancient Egypt, information on modern Egypt, outside of politics, is lacking.
See, I’m working on the third book in my Demonica series, which is set mainly in Egypt. The first two books, Pleasure Unbound (July 08,) and Shadow Lover (April 09) were largely set in New York City and in an underworld hospital. New York was easy enough to research, since there is oodles of information available (plus, I was constantly bugging Stephanie Tyler, my Sydney Croft writing partner, for details, since she lives there,) and the hospital was easy, because I made it up, using real hospitals and my depraved imagination (hey, it’s a hospital run by vampires, demons, and werewolves – it takes a little depravity to come up with the creepier details.)
But trying to work sketchy information about modern Egypt and Egyptian culture into a world where paranormal creatures and their human enemies collide both above ground and below? Well, that’s proving to be a challenge, especially because I’m a stickler for detail and getting it right.
I don’t have a problem manipulating gray areas into something that works for a fictional situation, but I absolutely hate getting details wrong – so much so that when Stephanie and I were writing the first three books in the Sydney Croft Storm series (Riding The Storm and Unleashing The Storm, both available now, and Seduced By The Storm, available September 08,) I contacted several meteorologist friends for information, even though I spent 15 years working in the weather field for the US Air Force and National Weather Service, and I know meteorology. But I wanted to make absolutely certain that our fictional weather machine could, theoretically, do what we needed it to do.
So what about you? As a reader, how important to you is technical detail (whether or not you know it’s accurate?) For example, I have NO idea if Tom Clancy’s incredible detail is accurate or not, but he writes with such authority that he could tell me the earth has two moons and I’d believe it. So does technical detail help pull you into a rich world, or does it bog down a story for you?