There are times when I wish I could just hop on a plane and travel to London so I can do the research I need to do in person.
Of course, the internet is wonderful and I am able to be an ‘armchair’ traveller and move through space and time at the click of the button (a kind of writer version of Dr. Who).
Need to plan a Recency-era dinner party for my main character? No problem! Click.
Need to figure out what day of the week it was on October 3, 1813? No problem! Click.
Need to determine a possible carriage route to Whitechapel from Mayfair in nineteenth century London? No problem! Click.
Major battles of the Napoleon Wars? Click.
Maps of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century? Click.
Male Regency hair styles? Click.
I can’t really complain. The internet has been good to me. It is my friend.
There are some things the internet just can’t provide.
For instance…my main character just walked into Lord Byron’s home at 8 St. James’ Street, London.
What does it look like inside?
Yes. WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE INSIDE?
The internet can’t seem to tell me.
Shall I try the old fashioned way…and reach for a book? Well, over the years, I have read many biographies on Lord B.
They love to talk about what happened and about the people involved.
But they rarely tell me what kind of wall paper decorated the walls during the time he lived at 8 St. James’ Street.
At least Google street view provides an idea of the exterior. (Thank you, internet!)
If I could fly to London, maybe I could figure out a way to step inside #8…
If there was a Research Hotline, maybe I could call it…and they could filter through all the letters, journals, books, academic articles, Ph.D theses and websites written to, from and about Lord Byron over the years and find me one detail, just one little detail, about how that place looked inside…
Oh well. Guess I will just have to use…MY IMAGINATION!