In previous posts I've mentioned that I am working on a new WIP and part of it will take place in the 1920's. 1925 to be specific. PBS just had a three night special on Prohibition and it could not have been better timing for me. If you didn't get a chance to watch it I know PBS has been rerunning it and I would highly recommend it. The period has always interested me (I'm a huge history buff) and I finally decided that I would try and write a story set in that era. I have done research on the internet which to my surprise hasn't really given me what I have been looking for. Go figure. I've bought several non-fiction books about the era, one of which is, Flapper A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, And the Women Who Made America Modern by Joshua Zeitz, that review will be coming soon. The more research I do the more prepared I feel to finally be able to sit down and start writing.
But. I think you've come to realize with me there is always a but. I have currently on my bookshelf, Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen and Vixen by Jillian Larkin and I want to read them. I do. And I'm really curious to see how they handled the era and if their research is evident on the pages. But I always hear/read writers say how they try to avoid reading books similar to theirs because they don't want to be influenced in anyway. Aren't you supposed to read books similar to yours to see what is selling? Such a stupid thing but it really got me thinking.
I'm curious what your research methods are. Do you stick to the non-fiction books? Or do you also take a look at fiction? Do you read other books that are similar to yours? Or are you afraid like other writers that it may influence your own work?