I’ve spent the past six months surrounded by bikers, booze and mayhem in a city named Reno. Before this year, I would’ve said I knew a lot about Reno since I spent five years living there while going to college. But the Reno I’ve grown to know over the past few months is nothing like the Reno of my college years. Instead of engineers, professors and classrooms, I’ve spent my time watching bikers in their private clubhouse, at private members-only events, and on dates with their equally tough women.
None of the bikers know me but I know everything about them. I’ve decided where they work, what happened in their past, and what kind of ending they deserve. Because even though it’s a romance story, it’s still a biker world and not everyone deserves a happy ending.
To be honest I’d never considered the fact that as a contemporary author I even did world building. Research is one of my favorite time sucks but I never thought of it as world building before. I mean, it was fun and I’d always thought of world building as work—yes, I am that nerdy :-p
For my current WIP, I had to do lots of research. Since it’s set in the world of a motorcycle club—a place that was completely foreign to me—I had to hit the books. Literally. I read a few nonfiction books, mostly ones by ex-members of some of the big clubs. Then I watched a few documentaries about the Mongols MC, the River Run riot, and the annual biker rally at Sturgis.
But when it came to finding out about how women fit into the motorcycle club world, I hit a brick wall. Most of the portrayals of women in the MC world were not where I wanted to take my story. Fortunately I found a gold mine of information in one of my writer friends whose husband is in a motorcycle club. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time DMing and emailing her every question that popped into my head. I really should buy her flowers or something if I sell this book!
Hopefully all my research will be worth it and my world will read authentic to my audience. I want the reader to love my hero as much as I do and understand why he chose the life that he did. And hopefully root for him and the heroine all the way to the end. But then that’s the goal with every book I write, not just the ones involving scary biker guys!
Do you guys fall into the research time suck like me? What are some of the stranger things you’ve had to research?