Unless you're only researching and not writing or your fiction novel reads like a text book.
Research is the way to make a story or book come alive, take shape, and educate while entertaining your audience. At least that's the way I feel about research. I think there is never too much you can research about anything you write about. I have the first book of a trilogy released that is set in the 1700's among a band of Nez Perce. I researched their way of life, found Nez Perce who were willing to help me make the story correct, learned about shape shifting for the paranormal element, and studied the myth and legends of the Nez Perce so when I wrote the story I could make it as authentic sounding as possible.
Now you say, all well and good, that was a historical story.
I'm working on a contemporary right now, and I've put as much if not more research into making it ring true. It's set in the Guatemalan jungle. So I've had to read maps, go to online sites about the government, read newspaper articles about what is happening there, and I've made a contact who has given me information not only on the country but the people so I can make the story as authentic as possible. Knowing they are a Spanish speaking country I could have just used Spanish words here and there, but I learned all Central and South American countries have their own slang. So I'm digging into that and asking the local person what words would be used for certain things. I also have one character who is Venezuelan. I've had to do some researching on that to make him ring true.
I could have just written the story with Spanish language and a few online sites as my research, but then the story wouldn't have been accurate. As my contact in Guatemala said, "I appreciate the fact you are going to great lengths to show the real Guatemala. Many books I read, the writer doesn’t have a clue what we are about and they lose me as a reader." So while the larger populace may not have a care about the difference in the language, or the fact the rain forest has been getting smaller and smaller due to fires, those people from or who live in the countries will know I have taken the extra care to get it right.
Great research resources are your local, state, and university libraries; historical museums or societies; in the case of other countries, their government websites; or googling a certain area. For maps I like Google Earth and Mapquest. And always try to find at least two sources with the same information. Especially if you're using online information. And if you can find a person in a particular field you are using or living in a country you are writing about it makes the story come to life with tidbits that only someone in that field or that country would know.
Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager has brought her husband of thirty-one years to maturity, along with four children. Currently the empty nesters farm 130 acres. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
Paty has been a member of RWA for twelve years belonging to several online chapters as well as EPIC, Women Writing the West, and Central Oregon Writers Guild.
She has five historical western romance novels, one paranormal historical, and one contemporary western available through The Wild Rose Press. Her contemporary western won the 2008 Best Contemporary Romance EPPIE. To learn more about Paty drop by her website: http://www.patyjager.net To purchase her books to go http://www.thewildrosepress.com or any e-book or print outlet.