A to Z Blog Challenge: Day Nineteen
You need to be a super sleuth to write great nonfiction so it's no surprise that I always wanted to be this guy . . .
Columbo! I watched this show all the time. Little did I know that someday I would be writing mysteries of my own and using my sleuthing skills to uncover fascinating facts for my nonfiction books. My goal when writing nonfiction is to uncover some little known fact or facts about a particular topic. I found the best way to do this is to track down primary sources and interview them over the phone or in person. I find through conversation, as opposed to just a laundry list of questions, you are able to uncover golden nuggets of information. I even had a primary resource that searched his attic for photos that he was willing to contribute to one of my books. Sleuths often don't work alone.
As a nonfiction sleuth you might have to work your way through gatekeepers and relatives or past secretaries and assistants. But I've found that persistence pays off and when you are finally able to connect with an expert in a particular field they are usually passionate about what they do and are willing to share their knowledge. Sleuths search libraries, historical records, newspapers, and do whatever it takes to track down the information needed to write a great book.
Research is what kept from initially writing nonfiction. What I discovered is that although it's the hardest part of the job, it's also what I love most about it. I think Columbo would be proud!
Linda Bozzo has published more than 50 nonfiction books for the school and library market. For more information about Linda and her books, you can visit her website.