For those of you who don't know, I recently started tackling a nonfiction project about the Joplin tornado. I've spent a lot of time this month interviewing survivors. But I also wanted some factual, scientific information to include in the book.
I wasn't sure how to do this. I've done research for fiction, but nonfiction is a whole different beast. I knew I could find most of the information on the internet, but how credible is that? So last night I googled "tornado experts" and started searching out their emails. The first email I sent out was to the National Weather Service, asking them to put me in touch with anyone who could help.
Within 30 minutes I had a reply from the representative over Joplin. A very positive reply. I explained a little more about the project, and I got back this EXCITED response:
I TRULY wish you a best seller! Your framework largely covers what sociologist have said is necessary for people to respond to warnings. It would be my hope that your work would encourage families to respond proactively without being prompted by a horrific situation that touches their lives first.
He then went on to tell me all the data and information he has available and wants to know how he can help.
I'm so excited I can hardly sit. I can't believe I'll be able to get all of this from the source!
This is all new to me, nonfiction, but what I've learned is, ask. If you need sources, go to the person in charge. They might be very willing to work with you.
Oh, and if you're googling people, be aware they are probably going to google you...he did. :)