I'm one those starving artists, almost literally. One of my dreams is to one day be one of those authors that can make a living churning out books they enjoy writing. With one of the perks being able to travel to different destinations around the world that pose as the settings of their current novels. Unfortunately, I'm not there as of yet but that's another writer's dream I'm working on. ;-)
For now, I'm quite happy to take a traveling position from my desk. The internet is a wonderful thing. You can visit different destinations through pictures, learn about different cultures and find bibliographies to take to the library (or Amazon) for stacks of books to buy on culture and travel.
Right now I'm experiencing that with A Kiss of Ashen Twilight. The surname background for the family is of Scottish origin. Their story takes place mainly around the 1400s so naturally I had to do a bit of research on the events of the time, what they wore, what food they ate, where they lived, how they talked and how they addressed each other since they owned and ran wide strips of land. I'll say this I never thought I'd learn so much about Scotland's geography in one sitting. I had a heck of a time learning the cities where to place my characters since they did a bit of travel. They were on the borders near Ediburgh at one time then I moved them to Leith then I tried to figure out the tiny villages and cities in between (that's where I ran into issues). A friend of mine who lives in Scotland now made a suggestion that made me slap my forehead in awe. Move it to the Highlands, he says. It's much more interesting there. An lo and behold there's tons of cities, landscapes, history and all that jazz about the Highlands. Now grant it, I'm not one to give up so easily and considering the vast amount of romances books that take place in the Highlands during the Medieval centuries, I figure, hey why not try outside the box? But somehow it fits. And the predicament that worried me in the beginning was gone. I had them close to the border so the trek to Romania wouldn't be as long and crazy. Either way looking closer, it would be crazy on foot whether they're in the Highlands or outside the border.
During rewrites a new character got to have more action in the fight scene and since that character shared the same paranormal abilities as the one I'm working with in the 1400s, I found out a simple way to get my characters from Scotland to Romania in only a few days. Bingo! Believe me, they do have a reason for traveling to Romania from Scotland and yes it has to do with the real Dracula. ;-)
So anywho, I got a little leverage with my alternate medieval history but still I want to make sure everything makes sense within the world I have built. I'm just glad I found an out that was still believable and still canon.
Tomorrow I'll continue researching and adding the new chapters on to the novel. I have no idea how long it's going to be but I'm aiming for 80k which would be an amazing feat for me since I always write shorter novels. You can see my progress on the book on the lower left hand column that shows what Works-in-Progress I have going on at the moment.
Since today as geography, maybe tomorrow I'll learn more about clothing. And then maybe I can find out what those Scottish Lairds wore under their plaids. ;-)