“Action” Research (or, “I may never get out alive”)

I’ve decided that research for my writing needs to be hands-on.  The thought behind this is that if I’m engaged and interested, this will flow through my writing so that readers pick up on that while engrossed in one of my thrillers.

For “Under Fire”, I finally got out of the office, away from the emails and visited a real submarine at the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour in Sydney late last year (see here) and that worked so well, I’m now considering that this should be something I do with each project – get out there and  explore.

Luckily I’ve always had an adventurous streak. After all, that’s why I emigrated to Australia from the UK eight years ago – as the Aussies like to say, to “have a go”. Failure, or having to go back to the UK with my tail between my legs, didn’t even factor into the plan.

With a couple of new writing projects on the boil, and a trip back to Europe for the next three weeks, the possibilities for “action research” are endless.

For starters, there’s the trip to a museum in London where one of my characters works. Where’s the nearest café? Do they serve coffee the way he likes it? Does he have to sign in or use a swipe card to get to his office…?

Then there’s the week in Malta where I’ll be exploring the mid-20th century history of the country. What was it like to live there? What did people wear? What did they eat? What was it like for ex-pats from the UK?

And, finally, because there’s part of me that just wants to push this “action research” thing a little more, there’s the one-day stuntman course on the Gold Coast and a hostage taking course down in Sydney somewhere…

Now that’s “action research”.

Hopefully I survive.

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