Soon, I will be reading about WWII and how it affected Italy, since I hope to publish my mother's memoir, most of which is based in that country and in that time period.
The bonus to all of this reading and research is that we are always learning... there's a vast amount of knowledge that any of us writers can accumulate and retain. And it's never too late to learn, whether we are retired and writing as a new career, or a full time author from the get-go.
We tend to write best when we write a topic that we know about well.
In many of the Amish novels I read, I can almost taste the delicious foods described in many of the stories...my mouth waters for a warm piece of fresh baked apple pie. And the scenery of green pastures and cows grazing, even the smell of manure in the stalls comes alive as I read. I am transported to the time and place the author writes about. And those are the novels that I do not soon forget. I hope I too can achieve the same re-creation of a sensory experience for my readers.
It seems that many people in the arts are what I like to call "noticers." We notice every little thing...sights, smells, the feel of things, etc. And isn't it a blessing to be able to do so, and pass along the ones we relished to our fictional characters, who then transport them to the reader? Or onto a canvas or into a song?
As writers, we can use our talents to be the bearers of Good News in our creative endeavors.
"Everyone has inside himself-what shall I call it-a piece of good news."
From a framed quotation in the home of Commander & Mrs.Geoffrey Kittson
(Courtesy of: Norman Vincent Peale's book: Why Some Positive Thinkers Get Powerful Results..)