When I was trying to figure out how the government might go about creating the camps in 'The Darkest Minds,' I researched the Japanese internment camps here in the United States, specifically propaganda the government used, and how they capitalized on people's fears.
From the time I was in first grade or so, my dad collected 'Star Wars' toy figures from the 1970s and '80s, and we'd take weekend family trips to antique shops and to toy stores. My father collected a crazy amount of 'Star Wars' stuff over the years, and he and I traveled to many conventions.
I was genuinely lucky to have the professors I did, many of whom took a very humanist approach in teaching history that went beyond memorizing dates and battles and all of that - basically, looking at the life of individuals throughout history, aided by fascinating primary sources.
One of the things I noticed while I lived in New York City was how different the kids and teens were that grew up there versus, you know, my suburban upbringing. They have this innate resilience and toughness to them, and they're incredibly self-sufficient, usually from a pretty young age.
When I first read 'Outlander' a few years ago, I was shocked to find that Jamie was the complete package: incredibly smart, incredibly witty, strong but emotionally vulnerable, passionate to a fault - and, well, the Scottish accent doesn't hurt! I actually stopped reading at several points to swoon over something he said... he's really that good.