I love research.
I'm sure part of it stems from my love of learning. The other part is because I know that the smallest detail can bring a scene alive for a reader or deepen the conflict for a character.
This is particularly important when writing historic, fantasy, paranormal or science fiction stories. (Not to mention useful in contemporary stories, too). Sometimes, it even provides the spark needed to create just the right character.
When I was researching the moneyocracy in Ghost of a Chance, I came across a section about the need for the nouveau riche in America to set themselves apart from the rest of the middle class rabble. Because of this need, many a rich man sent his daughter oversees to marry into the impoverished nobility, mainly of England, but really any title would do.
Although I didn't use this idea in Ghost of a Chance, it stuck somewhere in my head and eventually shook loose in their daughter, Fiona's story. Unfortunately, by the time Fiona was of marriageable age, those rich papas had decided that poor nobs who looked down their aristrocratic noses at the working masses weren't quite the in-laws they had in mind.
Furthermore, the invasion of American Heiresses had left many of the British Ton resentful, particularly the daughters.
This didn't quell the need or desire of royalty for an infusion of money.
And just like that a hero was born.
The proud Marquess of Kingslee is quite impoverished and worse, his stepmother insists on gambling and racking up more debts. Fortunately for him, he's williing to work. So while going into trade is out of the question, he has found another means to support himself and try to work off his debts. You see British royalty rarely deigned to allow Scotland Yard in their midst, so Kingslee manages to repay his debts (and his stepmother's) while still maintaining his veneer of nobility. And while he could have wooed Fiona to gain her money, he'd already been burned by another American heiress who tossed him aside for a higher title.