Part III on Researching for Your Book: Some Research is Inside Your Head
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
If you’ve read either of my books, The Matriarch or The Face of Jesus, you might be thinking, do I have to build a time machine to do research? In The Matriarch https://amzn.to/2RqYtDH , I trace the lead character, Leslie’s life back through generations. In The Face of Jesus https://amzn.to/2RiT55a, I tried to capture the reaction of different characters who met Jesus face-to-face, and show how those encounters impacted the characters. So how did I do research for that?
Well of course, reading helps and much of what is in these two books is based on my recollections of books I’ve read. So, I didn’t really do a lot of “book research.”
Obviously, The Face of Jesus is meant for a Christian audience, but even if you aren’t a Christian, the book relates stories about how our lives impact others. Yes, I used scripture as a guide and researched different passages in the New Testament, but I relied heavily on the education I got when attending a Franciscan University having Theology/Philosophy as one of my majors. I also drew on homilies I’d heard in church. Sometimes I would meditate on the scripture readings for the day, or something that was said during a homily and that prompted me to go home and write a chapter. Or I would think about someone I knew who embodied the teachings of Jesus and that would inspire a chapter.
I also became inspired to provide the readers with the next step—taking these stories of an encounter with Jesus and using them to inspire your own relations with others, and with the world. So, I then wrote an accompanying Study Guide https://amzn.to/2NzcYlk which can be used individual or in a study group or book club.
So, don’t ignore the wealth of information that is inside of you when writing a book. And talk to people, all kinds of people. I generally embarrass my kids when I’m traveling with them because I strike up conversations with all sorts of people. And most of these people probably never know that something about their personality or something they’ve said could end up in a book of mine one day!
So, use your own experiences and your own imagination as your first research tool. It is much more powerful that you might realize.