As a paranormal romance author, or author of any genre really, how do you research what’s primarily in your head? Especially if you’ve ventured into a setting in the future?
For me, I turned my research efforts to the past. Odd, maybe, but then again when I was working on Justice Incarnate, the first paranormal romance novel in the Shadows of Justice series, I was also dealing with a reincarnated heroine. Pointing my research efforts back in time helped me assess how quickly inventions come and go and get replaced by new advancements and technology.
By the time I started on Tracking Shadows, I’d been working within my 2096 Chicago world for awhile. And yet, I still went back, not only to the previous books to keep the continuity straight with the elements of my paranormal romance novels, but also to find a catalyst for Micky’s character.
Specifically, why he would choose to be one of the most honorable men in smuggling, a business which thrives on exploitation.
Once again, I turned to Chicago’s history to find just the right elements of this paranormal romance novel. Though I’m not surprised people think of it as an urban fantasy with a paranormal element, but let’s skip that slippery slope for the moment.
When I consider the myriad possibilities of where this world might go in the future, it helps me to see where we’ve come from. Researching Chicago’s vivid history helps me expand the horizons in my fictional 2096. When I came across the accounts of Gypsy Smith’s famous evangelical march, I let my imagination wander over how those owners of ‘shady’ business in the notorious Levee might have been affected.
For Slick Micky’s family, Gypsy Smith’s march altered their owner mindset, creating a shift toward business practices that encouraged loyalty and improved the profit margin for everyone. While the necessary elements of paranormal romance novels present in Tracking Shadows stem primarily from Trina’s ability to induce deadly hallucinations, Slick Micky’s future is certainly dependent on how he interprets his past.
Live the adventure!