Thursday, February 18, 2010

Research is Fun!

Lately I've been doing a lot of research for my WIP, and if you're anything like me, you can get so sidetracked by the research that you forget to write! One of my favorite things to do is research geographic areas and travel destinations. One of my latest spots on the map to visit virtually is Nome, Alaska, clearly chosen because of the gnomes in my second novel with Samhain, Survival of the Fairest. Here are 13 fun facts about Nome.

1) Nome houses what is arguably the world's largest gold pan, upon which its welcome sign resides.

2) There are no roads to Nome! Not cross country roads, at any rate. If you want to get there, you have to hop a plane, a boat or a dog sled, I guess. The Nome area does have some gravel highways that lead to surrounding cities but nothing connects to the rest of the world.

3) Nome is the end point of the annual Iditarod dogsled race, which commemorates a desperate race across Alaska to bring serum to combat a diptheria epidemic in 1925.

4) The best page of Nome photos I've seen belongs to a very nice man named Tom: . Tom is a fellow writer who's written four Nome-set novels, per his website.

5) In Nome, due to the weather, the road situation, and so on, large or unwanted "garbage" has a way of lingering. Within a couple miles you can find old trains in the middle of nowhere, abandoned receivers/towers that were once part of our Early Warning System, old dredges, and road houses or miner's shacks.

6) People and a company or two still mine the Nome area for gold, including various contraptions along the beaches.

7) Even though it only has about 3500 residents or thereabouts, Nome is considered to be the commercial hub of northwest Alaska.

8) Because everything has to be flown or boated in, groceries and staples can be very expensive in Nome. On the visitor's site, prices include $4.49 for a dozen eggs and $7.29 for a gallon of milk.

9) Wyatt Earp lived in Nome for a while during their big gold boom from 1897-1901 and operated a saloon.

10) Nome is home to Alaska's oldest newspaper, the Nome Nugget.

11) The movie "The Fourth Kind" about alien abductions is set in Nome--but oddly wasn't filmed there. Imagine that!

12) In March, golfers can play in a tournament ON the frozen Bering Sea with sled dogs as caddies in the Bering Sea Ice Golf Classic.

13) Nome boasts some 200+ species of Arctic wildflowers -- but only at certain times of the year. The rest of the time they're permafrosted to the gills.

What are your favorite things to research for your books (besides the sex scenes!) Got any fun facts to share?

Jody W.