Research for writing is my idea of fun. You get to spend hours exploring different places and times. For example in the Owen Strong series, doing research lead me to understand that the higher up you travel from the sea-level harbor in Hong Kong, the cooler the climate, leading to the wealthy and the ruling classes making their homes on what became know as Government Hill. Placing the Dragon’s cave on top of Government Hill then became interesting.
In the same way, when I needed a real place to have the dragon hold clandestine meetings away from the top of the Hill, I learned about Hong Kong Park, and had him be responsible for it’s creation, showing to the reader the depth of the dragons political power, as well as his own vanity, that he would have this enormous park created solely for his pleasure.
We’re lucky now in that the internet is our friend, giving every writer the resources of a well stocked University library. Grounding the work in research makes the storytelling much more enjoyable for the writer, and I hope it makes the world more interesting for the reader as well.