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I live in Africa, but I've got an idea of a book I'm working on, which is based in a city in Germany. I've never been to Germany and I've got no means to be there now. How could possibly make my researches (although a principal character is an African based in Germany)? I  would need German names, streets, names of bars, nightclubs, discription of houses, homes etc.

Hi, Kingsley!  One the best things you can do is talk to people who actually live in Germany. Fortunately, there are a TON of writer forums where people from all countries meet to exchange ideas and help each other with this sort of research. Even though I live in the United States, I've been able to get detailed information about lots of places overseas. Stuttgart, Germany was the setting of one of my books, and I was able to hook up with an author who lived there. She not only gave me ideas about day-to-day life, but even went above and beyond the call to take and email PHOTOGRAPHS of city streets and even menus of local restaurants so I could have the characters describe what they were seeing.

One great form that I hang out at is called AbsoluteWrite. There's a special section of the forum that's just for what you describe, called "Story Research." You can post up a thread with a title like, "Looking for people who live in Berlin" (or whatever city) and you'll be surprised how many people stop by to chat! There are over 22,000 members of the forum all over the world, and we always welcome new aspiring authors, wherever they may live. :)

Here's a link to the Story Research room, in case you're interested. You might even do a search for your city name to see if it's already been discussed. The search option is in the blue bar at the top, near the right-center.

Good luck, and hope to see you over there! :D


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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