Vivid writing is all about details and a good fantasy demands a believable new world. Because we’re in a fluctuating imaginative state when we write, we can easily and unconsciously use what I call default details – unoriginal bits our brains have stored from previously read or viewed material. The unique combining of unusual characteristics helps our individual brains create something new. For me, a research trip has always opened doors (and closed bank accounts) when I needed fresh air in a story. I’ve been writing about dragons, gold, sun-worshippers and volcanoes for a few years; the obvious place to visit was Peru where the Incas hid cities in the Andes and made blood sacrifices to please Inti. Exploring that magical landscape provided my fifth revision with the power-boost it needed over the last year. Large flying reptiles had to defy gravity – and the cold – to fly over peaks, and that trip to Peru provided details my urban Canadian brain might never have imagined.