Even if your novel is set in current times, a writer must know the landscape far beyond the little house in which her characters live. The author must understand the climate (not just the weather) and the events that shape attitudes and politics and economics and beliefs. “Just as important as getting the history right, is getting the drama right,” Berg said.
I particularly like this last bit of advice from Mr. Berg: “And I think it behooves the biographer to tell his tale as compellingly as the novelist does. Basically we are all storytellers, whether we are fiction writers or non-fiction writers or poets, we are there to tell a story. And I think that involves having prose that is highly readable and I think pulling the story along a lot of the time.”
And in case you aren't familiar with Mr. Berg, he wrote the biography of Kate Hepburn, simply titled "Kate Remembered." As for that Lindberg biography, titled what else "Lindberg." -- Berg won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for a distinguished biography or autobiography by an American author. The award came with immeasurable acclaim as well as $5,000.