In my day job, I do research and write scholarly stuff. By night (and, you know, weekends, early mornings, and holidays) I scribble fiction. My work in progress is a medieval mystery about a brutal inquisitor hiding a dangerous secret and the young lord who must join his inquiry into a ritualistic murder in the south of France.
Imagine my joy when I got a travel grant from work that let me scope out bits of medieval Paris and Spain for research on my (sh!) fiction.
(Navarre Castle, Spain)
I got to sit in arrow apertures and read books about medieval inquisitors.
Walking the dimensions of thirteenth century manor halls and celebrating mass in chapels that would have looked, perhaps, not unlike their dark and Romanesque selves seven hundred years ago helps with descriptions.
But my favorite part of the trip was the walking. Hiking on foot up to and around Montserrat was, well, terrible (how out of shape am I?) but enlightening. How would it feel to walk these winding and steep routes not for a lark or for research, but because I had to?
If you write historical fiction, how do you research? What is the craziest thing you’ve uncovered, or the most difficult thing you’ve done to imagine your way backwards in time?