I was thinking today about what writing life would be like without the internet. My first picture book (that is coming out in Spring of 2008 - mark your calendars) is set in 9 different countries. Whenever I needed a detail about something, I'd type in a few words and I'd get more info than I could possibly need. Looking for a Pakistani boy's name? No problem. The weather in Beijing on February 7, 2006? It was raining, thank you very much.
Back in the olden days any of this info must have involved days of library research, thumbing through card catalogs, hunched over microfiche. I felt a little guilty because all the info I needed was right there - wasn't that cheating? Would it make the book too light on atmosphere? My answer came when one of my crit partners read the book. The original version had a scene in Brazil, and she happened to be from Brazil. When she asked me excitedly when I'd visited last, I knew I'd gotten the details right.
As an aside, if you haven't popped over to the discomermaids blog recently, you owe yourself a visit. The are running a contest looking for suggestions for new celebrity book titles. My current favorites are: Hop on Pop by Woody Allen and Soon Ye Previn (shout out to my girl Natalie) and Errogant by Donald Trump. Check out the entries in the comments section - but don't laugh too loudly if you're at work.
On this date: In 1937 Daffy Duck debuted.