I may have more years of post-secondary education than I will ever need, but I can tell you one thing–I learn more writing romance than I did in most of my former college classes.
How is this possible, you ask? Well, the curse of a writer is that a character will just pop into your head without warning. Often times they have occupations, histories, or interests that you know nothing about. Sometimes, I just want to know the exact location of something that happened in their past. To give you a better idea of what I'm talking about, let me share two recent examples:
1) I was writing a scene for my latest AMT novella, Shadow of Temptation, and I came to a scene where Sabrina (the heroine) tells a crucial part of her past to Jorge (the hero). The event took place on a college campus, and while the reader will never know the name of the university, I couldn't finish the scene until I knew what university she attended in Brazil, what the campus looked like, and what she had planned to study. As you can imagine, I knew nothing about universities in Brazil, but I do now!
2) I'm doing some pre-writing prep work for Cascade Shifters #1 (Reclaiming the Wolf) and finally figured out the hero's history. Sylas Murray served in the U.S. Army, in a shifter-only division. The problem? I know very little about the structure and divisions of the army. Eventually, I created my shifter-only division of the Rangers (4th Battalion).
Those are just two examples of random research. As the AMT series has a lot of science and biology in it, I've had to research that, too. Especially since my degrees are in Japanese, Anthropology, and Secondary Education. At least I'll never get bored as long as I'm a writer!
Have you had to do some strange research for a project (not just writing) before? What was it?