The heroine in my WIP becomes a test pilot, of sorts, though in her world aeroplanes aren’t quite as developed or widely used as ours were in the 1930s. Still, I thought this was a fascinating account of a real-life test pilot who lived during the era I draw my inspiration from. To be able to see his log books and photographs of the kind of test runs he went on…pretty invaluable stuff. (I get all giddy inside just looking at it. Takes me to a different time, you know?)
On Doing Research
I’m not really a history buff or especially knowledgeable about aircraft, but I do find it fascinating to read about them every now and then. Got some books on airships written as early as 1942, and one on planes originally written in 1915!
- The Story of the Airship - Hugh Allen, 1942 (has pictures!)
- Military Aircraft in World War 1 – Frederick A. Talbot, 2008; originally published in 1915 as Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War (kind of boring, actually, but still has a few interesting things in it)
- The Giant Airships - Douglas Botting, 1981 (it’s got pictures and colored artwork!)
Even with these references, I still like to “modify” things to suit my storyworld, and maybe I’ll get some stuff wrong. (Someone is bound to point it out if/when I do.) But I am writing fantasy, for heaven’s sake, not historical fiction (or even alternate history, for that matter). While I hope to establish some verisimilitude, I do like to play around and so I mostly use this stuff as a guide.
How About You?
Do you ever do research for your novels? How much, or how little, do you find yourself doing (if you do)? Is it something you ever get concerned with, or do you pretty much just like to “wing it?”