From my earliest childhood, our town library was one of my favorite haunts. I spent many happy hours there, reading everything from Walter Farley's novels to Jane Goodall's In the Shadow of Man. As I got older and began working on my degrees, I continued my love affair with libraries. Some folks may have found the dim aisles of the stacks oppressive and lonely, but to me it was home.
When I began writing Isabelle's Confession, I soon realized that more research was in order. Luckily for me, King County has a fantastic library system. What they didn't own personally, they'd happily get for me through interlibrary loan, which was good because I needed detailed information on fourteenth century English weapons, clothing, food, housing, holidays, pastimes--innumerable details that make a historical novel fascinating and its characters more real. I bought a few books, but most I borrowed from the library. For the most part I avoided the Web, not trusting its reliability.
I also had to be careful not to commit anachronisms. I often turned to my big dictionary (both French and English) to see when words came into use. I had a tough time deciding whether or not to use "explode," for example. Words like "second" or "minute" were easier to avoid once I got into the mindset, although I did find a few had slipped in when doing a final read-through. I was recently reading The Robe, and was annoyed to see that the author had left in a reference to alligators in his first-century story--a New World animal not known by Europeans at the time. It may be nit-picky of me, but it interferes with my suspension of disbelief. I suppose that's why I don't read much historical fiction. I prefer to read biographies and books on history because I know their authors have done their homework (usually). If I get into a book and find it doesn't meet my expectations I stop reading it. Life's too short to read junk.
Next up: trying to find time enough and tranquility to write.