I just read a letter from my editor that contained the "tweaks" I need to incorporate in my next Harlequin to make the story stronger. (No biggie.) But one of the comments she made about the book made me laugh. She loved the way I portrayed Barcelona, Spain. Loved it. In a conversation a few weeks ago, she'd asked if I'd been there and I had to admit I hadn't but I told her not to worry, that YouTube was very good for actually "seeing" a city because there are hundreds of different kinds of videos to choose from.
You can go pure tourist. That's somebody who's wandering around the city, filming as they walk. That's a good street-level view. LOL But there are specialists. Travel agent videos will "show" you what you will see firsthand if you book your trip through them. One video poster actually does what he calls "driving through" videos. You see the city speeding by as if you were driving through. That one came in particularly handy.
But I don't just rely on YouTube. Lots of people post blogs about their experiences in the cities they visit. I also go to the official site...and even though Barcelona's official site was not in English...I could figure out what they were trying to say. :)
I've visited a candy factory in my area for one of my books. I've spoken directly to police, lawyers, and even a funeral director (Hi, Mark) for HER SUMMER WITH THE MARINE.
I'm not the kind of gal who has the patience to read books on a "subject" but show me a video and I can watch it again and again and again. Or give me a chance to chat on the phone with someone who has firsthand information and I'm all ears.
My point is...Research is whatever you want to make it. You can read blog journals, make phone calls, read books, watch YouTube. So make it fun. Make your trip into a subject something that resonates with you so that the information you need sticks with you and you have the fact you need at the exact minute you need it.
Happy Monday...and Happy Reading...