Ignoring Gravity: my eclectic research list

Being a journalist, and a Virgo, I am good at making lists. My research list for Ignoring Gravity was long and eclectic. From adoption to early menopause, roses to dinosaurs. I read voraciously, made notes, clipped articles out of magazines and newspapers, took photographs; I filled boxes and files with notes. 

research list

Glamis Castle [photo: David Austin Roses]

As soon as I decided to write about two pairs of sisters I realised part of my story would be set in a different period of time: the 1960s. I was a child in the Sixties, but I would be writing about two young women, two sisters, living in London. I was 10 in 1970, and I grew up on a farm in Yorkshire. Patently, I couldn’t write ‘what I knew’. So I researched the Sixties.

What clothes did they wear?

research list

[photo: thebeatles.com]

What music did they listen to? The Beatles [above]?
The Rolling Stones [below?]
research list

[photo: rollingstones.com]

How did they earn their living?
What was happening in the world around them?
What was daily life like, at home, at work?
The political scene in the Sixties: CND, drugs.
What did they read and watch: newspapers, books, magazines, television programmes.

And then there was the non-Sixties stuff:-
The Metropolitan Police.
The streets of Wimbledon and Richmond, the offices of Docklands.
Face creams.
Motion sickness.
The brick industry of Islington.
The colours of the rainbow.
CND and the Aldermaston March.
The benefits of red wine and chocolate.
Wheat intolerance.
Desmond Morris.
The Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

research list

[photo: dailymail.co.uk]

To read more on my research about roses, click here.
To read more about Desmond Morris and his book, The Naked Ape, click here to read an article from the BBC Archive in 1967.
To learn more about CND’s activities today, click here.

research list


‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now
Read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity, or watch the book trailer.

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Roses, The Beatles, The Naked Ape & 60s squats: #researching IGNORING GRAVITY http://wp.me/p5gEM4-R4 via @SandraDanby


  1. Interesting how much research you did Sandra – but how unnoticeable that was when I read the story – by which I mean it read naturally, without me noticing. I mentioned in another comment that I wondered if you had personal experience of adoption because the events in the story are so believable, but I hadn’t really even considered some of the other things you must have looked at – like the stories Rose has to research.

    • Oh I am so pleased to hear you say the research was not visible, thank you. It’s one of the things I had to learn as a writer [rather than as a journalist] was knowing when to let the research go and let my imagination go. SD

  2. It is fascinating where some research can lead to. Isn’t it also inspiring what you find out during your research? I tend to store the information for my next endeavour. 😉

    • Me too, I am a hoarder. Even the cuts I make when editing get squirrelled away, ‘just in case’! For me, research opens doors to new story ideas and twists, new characters and contradictions. SD

      • True, there are lots of ideas, knowledge, pieces of inspirations that might not fit now. At a later date they may be very useful. Just this morning I had to split a plot in two parts. The second part will definitely be used for a different story.

        • I think it was Stephen King who said he was driving one day and had a thought which he immediately twinned with an idea he’d had 20 years earlier, needless to say it eventually became a novel. Can’t remember which one. SD