Have I suggested lately why you should be following Mary Robinette Kowal? Let me give you a couple more reasons… and they revolve around authenticity.
She’s written before on her blog about aspects of her writing process, and how – regarding her Glamorist novels, at least – she writes the story then checks for anachronisms. While I have not (yet) tried writing any kind of historical story, it’s one of those things that I can appreciate for sheer craft: being ultimately faithful to the story’s world, and doing the best to keep readers there. (I have recently been rereading The Hobbit, and was jarred by the mention of “how golf was invented” in chapter one.)
The latest example comes from something she’s mentioned before but just struck me at her latest request for help. Using her theater and performance background, she does a lot of voice work recording audiobook version of texts – including her own. Her latest recording project will involve some dialect work, and she wants to make sure she does them right. Readers being the freaks that we are will often “hear” the dialogue in the movie we make in our heads, using whatever context we have experienced. Audiobooks are… special. If those voices don’t come close to what we imagined then we aren’t likely to keep listening.
So, she wants to make sure that the experience of the story being delivered is as accurate as she can make it.
And that’s awesome, both as a member of the receiving audience as well as a professional model for developing writers.