I really thought my online expedition would do the trick.
At least once or twice a day, I get an email from Road Scholar. This is a company that leads tour groups all over the world. One of the differences between Road Scholar and other tour companies is that Road Scholar is all about education. They don’t just show you the animals—they tell you what they are and lots of information about them. You may also learn about the history of the region where you’re traveling. For a certain species of geek (me), this is a ton of fun.
In late winter, I received an email for an online expedition to the Arctic. Four days, three hours per day, plus lists of reference materials and suggested reading.
By this point, I was painfully aware that despite my internet research, I knew practically nothing about the Arctic. When you’re writing a book set largely at the North Pole, this can be problematic. After all, it’s not realistic to assume that the characters will never go outside, so what will they see? What birds and animals will be around? Also, what will they eat? It’s not as though they’re going to be having chicken and pork since they don’t have pigs and chickens, so what will the menu look like?
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matt. 7:7-8
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that when Jesus spoke these words in the Sermon on the Mount, He wasn’t thinking about indie publishing. For one thing, none of the Big 5 publishing houses existed yet. Plus, Jesus didn’t have to worry about who would publish His sermons.
The most important thing to know iswhat you don’t know.
In my case, this includes a wide array of topics. Luckily, I’m a researcher by trade and by nature. This has upsides and downsides.
The upside is obvious: people pay me to research things, which pays my bills. Having the time, experience, and inclination to dig deeply enables my clients to advise their clients of their options and rights.Knowledge is power, or so Sir Francis Bacon is believed to have said.Continue reading →