Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nerdiness and Research

I love researching for a new novel. Does that make me a nerd? I spend hours on the internet looking for details and tidbits that might help the story come alive for the reader. I search newspapers and libraries, and if a location is within a reasonable distance, I take a field trip. Those are the best!

I took such a trip this week. I'm on spring break, so I left children, husband and pets at home and hit the road. My destination was the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tennessee. The drive there was beautiful. Once you cross the Ohio River into Kentucky the landscape is so pretty. I love the rolling hills as you pass by the cattle and horse farms. The mountain views farther south are spectacular. The only part of the drive I didn't like was over the top of Jellico Mountain in the dark. It was WINDY! I dodged tractor trailors with every gust.

When I start a novel, I keep a research binder that includes a tab for images. Here are some of the images I collected on my trip:

Peacocks and peahens were everywhere on the museum grounds. This pretty girl was out in the open, but most of them were hidden under bushes or in flower beds. Sometimes it surprised me when I'd unexpectedly spot one right by my foot. It was somewhat like an Easter egg hunt, but with colorful birds instead.

How many peacocks do you see?

Nothing was wasted. This is a mule shoe chair. The sculptures were made from used matchsticks.

My Papaw had a collection of hats very similar to these. He'd be 107 years old in 2011...

Papaw also had a pump organ in one of the upstairs bedrooms. It took two of us to play it -one to pump the foot pedals and one to tickle the (real) ivory.

This made me giggle...

I think I have to include this in a story! Also, I love the name of the quilter...

There were only about five other people at the museum while I was there. There are indoor exhibits as well as outdoor. I met this gentleman in the last cabin I visited. He was singing "I'll Fly Away."  There was no one else around, so I joined in and sang harmony. When we finished, he grinned and said, "That was fun. Would you like to do another?" We ended up singing a few more before I had to go. He was right. It was fun!

The museum grounds were beautiful.

I highly recommend a trip to the Museum of Appalachia!

On my way back home, I decided to take a side trip through Cumberland Gap. I wish that I'd stopped and taken more pictures along the way, but I had to get back to Cincinnati on a deadline. I did take a few pictures from the pinnacle of Cumberland Gap. Just so you know, it was really cold up there!

Keep Writing!