One of the best things about being a writer is that people actually EXPECT you to be nosy! What a marvelous thing it is, too. Because of my research on alcoholism for the mystery novel, I had a couple really delightful emails from Peggy, whom I "met" through emailing the AA website. She is very candid and opinionated, and gave me a some valuable pointers right off. I also have a master gardener in Oregon who answers my ignorant questions about what my heroine's landscaper should be putting in her yard. A couple years back, I emailed one of the city engineers in Portland, Oregon about the bridges that crisscross through that city, and I got a wonderful rundown of traffic patterns and which bridge would best suit my purposes (a murder that clogs up rush hour traffic). What a life a writer has!
I'm a wife, an adoptive mom, and a homeschooler. I've been writing for money (and often not) for 30 years. Radio, TV, magazines, publication management. So I'm not new to writing in general, just to novel writing. A whole new challenge.