I am stuck at home with a virus, and decided to do some research for my next MG (or Junior Fiction) novel. While my stories are fiction, a large part of each is based on history, and I have loved researching information pertinent to the story line. In my first book, Harriet and the Secret Rings, Harriet and her friend Will end up in Ancient Rome, Philippi and Sherwood Forest. I wanted the settings to be as authentic as possible. In Rome, they help to raise the money to free a young girl from slavery. In Philippi, they are in jail next to the apostles Paul and Silas when the walls collapse. And in Sherwood Forest they take on a bullying sheriff of Nottingham. I thoroughly enjoyed researching historical information about each place and people, then adding my own input. I currently have the second novel, Harriet and the Secret Librarian, in the hands of my editor. Within the main story line are sub-stories, with the main character visiting her local library over 3 days. I wanted one of the stories to be based on bushrangers, so again researched old newspaper articles and other information relative to bushranger activity in my local area. I settled on using Johnny Gilbert (whose grave is at Binalong, where he was shot and killed, about ½ an hour from here), and wove a fictional tale around fact. I’ve also added other little snippets of factual information. Currently I have started on Harriet and the Secret Coins, which will be based on the Australian gold rush period, but in particular the places of Young (also local), Hill End and Ballarat. Once again, I am throwing myself into research with book and on-line information to draw upon. My aim is for children to enjoy the stories, but to also give them some learning along the way. One boy, who is 9, “devoured” the Secret Rings (as tole to me by his mum), as he is a history fan. Perhaps I am making up for not always being a good school student, and applying the research I needed to do for my work. As a mature-age student, I’m adoring the challenge, and seeking to impart some knowledge along the way. I know many other writers do the same. It’s a life-long education process for me, and I hope, others.