Hi, I’m Eileen and I Love to Research
Research is a funny thing. Everyone does it differently. Some use internet, some libraries. Some, like my critique partner, Karyn Witmer-Gow, fondle original journals like small infants. For the longest time, I felt completely unworthy of the task. I don’t do non-fiction very well. My eyes glaze at the first foot note, and I get lost in a time period. My doctor blames it on my ADD. I blame it on the fact that there’s no plot or pictures.
I also had no idea how to rein myself into the pertinent information, or even time period. I once tried to write a WWII romance and ended up, six months later, trying to figure out how I could fit the 1918 Treaty of Versaille into the action in a book that began the day Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. I had to stop before I fell down the rabbit hole and never returned.
As my brother says all the time. “Put it down. Step away. No one will get hurt.” That was kind of how I felt about research.
Yes, the internet did change my life. Now I can check the phase of them moon the night of Waterloo and the tides at Lyme Regis. I can learn about codebreaking during the Napoleonic Wars(read up on General Scovill). The other important thing I learned was that I am a global learner. I’m the kid who annoyed the teachers and scared museum security by wanting to play with everything. I don’t just learn visually, but audibly and tactilely. I have to smell it and taste it and roll around with it if I can.
Which is kind of how I fell in love with astronomy. Now, I know. I’m writing Regency Romantic Adventure, with nefarious spies trying to overthrow the crown, and the wonderful aristocratic gentlemen of Drake’s Rakes trying to stop them. As my friend Cherry Adair says, there should be shooting and chasing and running. And there is; there’s plenty of that. But during the course of researching the second Drake’s Rakes trilogy, I stumbled over the fact that during the Regency period, amateur science flourished. And women played a part that has mostly gone unnoticed. Women, for instance, were the original computers—they did the mathematical calculations for astronomers. They were also mathematicians on their own(Mary Sommerville, Margaret Bryan) and astronomers in their own right(Caroline Hershel, the Comet Hunter). So, I realized, were Fiona and Mairead Ferguson, my intrepid twins.( Well, while they’re not shooting and running and ducking). And my heroes, Alex Knight and Chuffy Wilde, are amazed.
But to get there, I had to actually learn enough astronomy that my heroines didn’t seem like idiots. Which introduced me to the St. Louis Astronomical Society. And I have to say hanging with them was like watching a magic act. I know the various members have spent years watching nebulae boil and galaxies in their slow spin and Saturn suspended against black velvet, its rings slowly gaining colors as you watched. But I was a star virgin. I was awestruck. I kept thinking of how Mairead and Fiona wold have felt seeing Orion’s nebula for the first time, successfully calculating their first transit. I thought of how primitive their equipment was, and how this was all as new for them as it was for me. And when I peered through a telescope and saw flares lift off the sun, it took my breath away. Just as it would have Fiona and Mairead. And that is the reason for research.
Eileen is giving away a print copy of TWICE TEMPTED, open to all including international! So….heroines. How do you like them? What are your “must have” heroine traits? Share them and be entered to win. Contest ends @12am est 12-3-14. Good luck y’all!!
Fiona Ferguson’s troubles began with a kiss . . .
It feels like a lifetime ago that Alex Knight saved Fiona from certain doom . . . and stole a soul-shattering kiss for good measure. Wanting nothing more than to keep her safe, he left her in the care of her grandfather, the Marquess of Dourne.
But Fiona was hardly safe. As soon as he could, the marquess cast her and her sister out on the streets with only her wits to keep them alive.
Alex has never forgotten that long-ago kiss. Now the dashing spy is desperate to make up for failing his duty once before. This time he will protect Fiona once and for all, from a deadly foe bent on taking revenge on the Ferguson line-and anyone who stands in the way . . .
A retired trauma nurse, Eileen lives in her native St. Louis with her husband, children, and large and noisy Irish family, of which she is the reluctant matriarch. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.
Dreyer won her first publishing award in 1987, being named the best new Contemporary Romance Author by RT Bookclub. Since that time she has also garnered not only six other writing awards from RT, but five RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, which secures her only the fourth place in the Romance Writers of America prestigious Hall of Fame. Since extending her reach to suspense, she has also garnered a coveted Anthony Award nomination.