I love research. I also love procrastinating. Funny how that works...
Anyway, I've always followed the adage, "Write what you know." My last two projects grew out of fictionalized elements of my own life but also required lots of outside research. I love interviewing people, so I see this as a bonus.
For my magician mystery, I drew on my own experiences living in L.A., and I spent a lot of time at the Magic Castle observing magicians in the wild (I know, tough gig...). I also asked my husband's advice on certain aspects of magic and magic history.
For my young adult martial arts novel, I drew on my own experiences as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, but I also asked a clinical psychologist for help authenticating other aspects of the story. Luckily, a friend of a friend happened to be well-versed in the subjects I needed assistance with, and she was incredibly generous with her time and suggestions.
So now I'm writing a noir story set in high school. Who's going to be my expert source?? Anyone go to San Clemente High School?