It’s very interesting to draft a novel and THEN do a lot of research to support the story’s plausibility and authenticity, especially a cross-cultural novel. I’m beginning to really admire the novelists who do tons of research for their stories- I haven’t understood how challenging it is.
Here I am in India, a place somewhat familiar to me as my childhood home. And I have spent considerable recent time here, decades later, achieving some grasp of modern realities in India. But as I launch into the thousands of questions I need to address, I feel overwhelmed and rather an imposter.
Asking a lot of questions and taking photos can come across as intrusive.
What are my topic areas of India enquiry? Well, just to name a few:
- criminal procedures in the case of suicide
- death/cremation procedures in the case of suicide
- law education
- caste- what are the likely dynamics of an honour killing in modern Tamilnadu?
- the likely exposure a young, lower-middle class woman would have to LGBT information and to folks who might support her as she struggles with being a lesbian (internet? advocacy groups?)
- the layout of Chennai, a sprawling city of 8 million, trying to locate a neighborhood where my protagonist could realistically live and commute to the specific law school I want her to attend, and do regular long distance running
Good luck, Cynthia!