1. 1940s Fiction & Movies
To make sure my writing "voice" is right I always immerse myself in the movies and books of the period I'm writing about. Not fiction set in that period, but the fiction of the period. (Because those tend to be two very different things.)
It's a great way to absorb the mind set. Which, let's be honest, is often unpalatable to the modern reader. But, in my opinion, it's more important to get the details right than offer some reassuring fake picture of how things used to be.
Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. Etc.
Anyway, it's a great excuse to read books and watch films I naturally love but don't typically have time to indulge in.
Wow. I LOVE Montana. If it just wasn't so far from the beach--and I didn't find real winter intimidating--I would be considering a move. Granted, the Montana of today is not the Montana of 1943, but I love the idea of so few people and so much land. And while it is certainly a red state, it is surprisingly cultured and even kind of artsy in various communities.
And Butte (which serves as the general inspiration for my city of "Bolt") has a fascinating political history especially regarding the labor movement.
Check out the documentary BUTTE AMERICA.
Old Esquire magazines. Road maps from the 1940s. One of the best parts of writing historical fiction is browsing eBay and gathering my research materials. There's a special pleasure in handling the books and maps and magazines of the era I'm writing about--I guess it's partly knowing that the people of that era handled them too.
In this particular case there's the fascination of reading all the accounts of the actual crime that inspired my story.
And the less useful, but endlessly fascinating research rabbit holes I inevitably fall down: sea battles, snow chains and men's fashion for starters.