Thursday, September 27, 2012

Doing the Research

By CJ Bolyne

Part of the How They Do It Series   

JH: I'd like to welcome CJ Bolyne to the blog today to chat with us about research. No matter what genre you write it, odds are at some point you'll have to look up a detail or double check a fact. This can be as easy as hitting Google, but some stories require more extensive searches. I do a lot of research for my novels, even though most of it never shows up in the book. CJ shares a few tips on getting what you want while doing your research.

Born and raised in Southeastern Manitoba, Canada, CJ was an avid reader dreaming of the day she would write her own fantasy/sci-fi book. When she’s not writing, she spends her time on her farm with her husband and multiple pets. She runs a full-time pet grooming business. Her first book, Trinity, is the first in the series. You can find out more about her on her website or on Facebook.

Take it away CJ...

Welcome to Day 3 of my very first virtual book blog tour for my very first book, Trinity! I really appreciate you being here.

I spent about five years researching mythical gods before starting to write my first book. It was daunting, to say the least, but Google truly became my best friend. I knew the overall theme of my book was to be about mythical gods, but there are just so many of them out there all from different cultures covering many different mythical and earthly realms. For example, in Roman mythology, you have Apollo–god of the Sun, and Venus–goddess of Love. In Greek mythology, you have Aphrodite–goddess of Love, and Hades–King of the Underworld. The Hindu have their gods, the Chinese have even more, and even the Nordics have their own. And on and on and on it goes.

After researching many of those listed above and more, I really felt that I didn’t want to use any of these “standard” gods. I knew that I was looking for something a bit different.

And that’s when I found them–the Gods of Gwynneth (otherwise known as the “Circle of Gods”). Within the Gods of Gwynneth, there are thirteen “good” gods and thirteen “bad” gods, plus two neutral gods. What made these mythical Gods intriguing to me is that, each “good” god has their “bad” god opposite. For example, LiĆ«sson’s–the God of Combat and Honor–antithesis is Vladok–the God of War and Destruction. Saer’s–the God of Truth and Justice antithesis is Lis–the God of Lies and Treason. And so on. Because there is not a wealth of information available on the Gods of Gwynneth left me a lot of room to “play” with the creativity surrounding their characters, and that’s where I’ve really had the most fun.

You will find in my book that the two “neutral” gods have chosen sides. Erean–the God of Trade and Thievery, leads The Guardians while Toros–the God of Dissent and Spying, leads the Anords.

The Gods of Gwynneth are based in Ireland. As such, ancient Gaelic translations of 13 secret words used throughout the series have been interspersed as an intriguing part of the storyline.

Because I knew I wanted to find gods, but not the gods from the Romans, Greeks, Hindu, Chinese, and Nords, I used the minus symbol – “-“ in my search phrase. For example, I may have typed in something like “gods [space]–roman [space]–greek [space]–hindu [space]–chinese [space]–nordic. What that did was eliminate any results which might have included “gods Roman” or “gods Greek”, etc. That left results I could siphon through in order to find the gods I wanted to use in my story.

I am currently working on the second book in this series. You can expect many more surprises within.

Sign up now for a chance to win an autographed copy of Trinity.

About Trinity:

Payton thought she had a normal, everyday life. When a mysterious man suddenly appears, he shatters her world telling her that her entire life has been a lie. She is a god with the Guardians having lived for thousands of years. The Anords know where she is and he needs to protect her at all costs. Payton holds the key to saving humanity. However, a mysteriously familiar woman complicates everything.


  1. Five years of research is mind-blowing, CJ! Did you begin your first book with the more well-known Gods and change it as your research progressed, or did you take five years to discover the Gods of Gwynneth and then begin writing?

    As an expatriate living in Tokyo, Google and Amazon are my best friends for research! I've got several books waiting to be read, but at the same time I just want to write where my imagination takes me.

  2. Your book sounds intriguing!! Research is very important and I use both the computer and libraries for most though these days, a lot of my research is done via google. But there are times when the library is the place to go.

  3. I wrote the first few pages first before I started the research on the gods I wanted to use. However, once I found the Gods of Gwynneth, and knew instantly they were the ones I wanted to use, the story came out quickly. The research continues as I write. If I'm not sure about something, I research it first.


  4. That moment of discovery can really accelerate writing!
    That being said, sometimes it can be hard to resist inserting the really cool but totally irrelevant factoids that research can lead us to.
    All the best with your second book!