I'll be the first to admit, I enjoy doing research for my books. There. I said it. I realize not everyone does, but whether it's visiting a dog kennel and speaking with its owner, or doing those Google searches that, like many mystery/suspense/thriller authors, creates a fear of ending up on the FBI's radar or worse yet, their "Most Wanted" list. I've even asked a retired agent about it, but she assured me that the FBI doesn't have time to worry about us. Good to know. They have bigger fish to fry. Actually, they would prefer to help answer writers' questions regarding FBI facts - at least the well-known authors with the big contracts. Not there yet.
In the meantime, it is surprising how generous individuals and businesses can be when it comes to sharing their knowledge with a writer. All we have to do is ask. Of course those facts are then turned into fiction, which means they might be slightly manipulated to fit the story - maybe even a lot. In the end though, the hint of truth can support a believable work of fiction.
So to all the novice and not-so-novice writers out there, dig in and start your research for that new book. There are surprising facts to be learned that just might get those creative ideas flowing even more. And all we have to do is ask! Remember to include those generous fact-sharers in your credits of appreciation to make it beneficial for them as well. Enjoy this unique step in the writing journey!