I’ve mentioned before in this blog that a lot of the research I did for SONG HUNTER involved looking at the customs of the Inuit people of the far north.
What I tend to do when researching a story is to read everything I can, on every even tangentially relevant subject, in the hope that a consistent environment for the book (I’d call it a reality, except of course that real is the last thing it is) settles itself in my brain.
It means that a lot – most – of the research I do isn’t used at all. (Oh, but how tempting it is to squash in all these fascinating facts, even though I know they're knobbly and destructive of the story.)
For instance (and I’ve been longing to tell someone this for over a year, now) an Inuit hunter is only allowed to kill a seal if he intends to eat it. To kill a seal for any other reason is wicked, and will lead to seals abandoning the hunting grounds. A seal killed for food gives itself willingly because it will be resurrected in the hunter once it is eaten.
There we are: religion and conservation pulling in the same direction.
Could the Inuit have survived without some rule like that?
But who made up the rule?