I have never been to Kazakhstan. Or Kentucky.
If I wanted to set a romance in either place, I’d need some self-education. The ideal method would be move there, fulfilling my if-only-I-could dream of becoming a purposeful nomad. Second best, I could travel there on a vacation.
But neither of these are realistically within my grasp, so let’s brainstorm on how I could prepare to write an historical romance set in the Bluegrass State.
1. I could talk with someone who lived there, either in person or online.
2. A Writers Digest book called “Writer’s Guide to Places” lists interesting facts about US states and their major cities. For example, “Kentucky never chose sides in the Civil War, and a Henderson teacher named Mary Wilson came up with the idea for Mother’s Day in 1887.” The book also lists books and websites for further research.
3. I inherited a 1965 World Book Encyclopedia set. The history and terrain sections are still valid.
4. I could check out books from the library. Especially nice are children’s books.
5. Use Google maps and other Google features for correct street alignment.
What sources do you use for setting research?