I read a beautiful and haunting anecdote in a guidebook to Rajasthan: it’s possible for children to reach the age of five without ever seeing rain, and therefore the ceilings and walls of royal children’s bedrooms were sometimes painted with cloud designs so that when it did finally rain, they would not be afraid. I wrote this image down, and everything else started spilling out.
The difference in research for novels was in the details: How was a room lit? Did they sell roast chickens in Paris in 1897? How did you cut a cigar? Well, real life experience might have answered the last question, but at midnight, it was Wikipedia.
by Nicki Leone
Leroux, having just returned from a long foreign assignment, received a late-night phone call from his editor telling him to hop on the next train to Toulon. Leroux responded with something Gallic and unprintable, slammed down the phone, and decided to become a novelist.