Well, there are many reasons I'm putting so much time and effort into this project. Not only is cycling a passion of mine (at least, as a spectator), not only do I want to write the best possible story I can and not only do I want people to read this and really and truly feel like they are there...
I also don't want a review like this:
Zosia's Review of Amorous Liaisons.
It's not that I feel the review is in any way unfair - far from it, in fact. I think Zosia has legitimate gripes and complaints. Absolutely legitimate. While the author of Amorous Liaisons seems to have done some research, it would seem she didn't dig quite deep enough. Granted, I don't have an in-depth/expert knowledge of ballet, but even I know (courtesy of a brief but intense love of the art while I was in my teens) some of the things this author got wrong.
My point being - when it comes to research, I think it's vital to go the extra mile. Don't sell your audience short. Don't skim over details which are important to the plot. Don't assume they won't catch if you're bluffing.
Because they will.
Knowing that a good portion of my target audience will, at the very least, be familiar with le Tour de France, I know I have to maintain a certain level of realism and detail in 27 Stages. If I don't, they'll catch me out on the big things. The members of my audience who know more about cycling (perhaps are even riders themselves) will pick on the smaller details, the lesser-known things. I know it. I expect it.
And I hope I can write this book well enough to avoid it. At least somewhat.
The only way to do this is to write to the best of my ability, to find common ground for everyone and to do as much research as I possibly can. And, in the meantime, I need to create a story that'll suck everyone in so they don't care if/when I go a little wrong.
Cross your fingers for me. I could use the luck.
And now, I've got to go do some research.