Research via Eating

I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m challenging myself in writing about places where I don’t live. It’s a bit stressful because setting is so important to me, but I’ve investigated a lot of parts of Los Angeles in so many of my books, both fiction and nonfiction, and I’m ready to venture out of my comfort zone. With historical mysteries, I need to also do some travel, but in some ways, I’m not as disadvantaged as any other writer my age. The buildings and people that were once there no longer exist, so we need to rely on oral histories, films, news reports, academic works and photographs–not to mention our imagination. My next mystery takes place in Chicago 1944 and while I’ve traversed the neighborhood I’m writing about, I’m studying nonfiction books to understand both details and context. Of course, food also helps and while our L.A. restaurants can’t compare to the Polish food offerings in Chitown, at least it’s something.

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