Sunday, January 26, 2014
Here is one of the coolest aspects of doing research for a book. In the novel, I'm writing now, my hero (half Jew/half Gypsy) was assaulted by neo-Nazis who carved a swastika into his chest. Of course, he always despised carrying this ugly symbol on his body so he went to a tattoo artist to have it covered over. I wanted his tattoo to be of a black eagle but so far as I knew there was no such thing.
So, I went to Google and put "black eagle" in the search box and lo and behold, it turns out there are not one, but two distinct species of black eagles. The first, the Indian black eagle's official name is Ictinaetus Malayensis and his range is from Pakistan and Indochina to the Malay Peninsula. The second, The Verreaux eagle is known as the African eagle.
Aren't they beauties?
So I was able to safely make my guy's tattoo a black eagle without eagle-eyed (pun intended) readers writing to say - "you made that up, there is no such thing as a black eagle!" Of course, writers make things up. That's what fiction is, after all, but I do usually try to be accurate about historic, scientific and natural facts.
In this book (which will be entitled Sanctuary in the Atchafalaya, I've learned about Jewish culture and holidays and food and Gypsies (though they call themselves Roma) and New Orleans and the Atchafalaya Basin and Sicilian stiletto fighting.
Through writing, I get a broader education than I ever got in school (though I still do everything possible to avoid math).