What does that mean exactly? For the most part, I write whatever I sense the characters are saying, doing or experiencing and generally, I will later find out that I was on the right track. This isn't to say I'm always correct however, I think sometimes we gather and retain more information than we realize over the years. So, even though we may not be fact-checking at the time we're writing, chances are the information is hidden away in the back of our mind. After all, isn't that instincts are in the first place? Information that has been stored away from previous experiences or hidden knowledge we forgot we had?
Of course, there's also an argument that a muse is a key element to any kind of art. For me, a big part of being a writer is accepting that I'm not necessarily in the driver's seat when it comes to a lot of my books but merely going along for the ride.
One great example was from my book And the Devil Will Laugh. In it, Jorge Hernandez reconnects with his mother after she's kidnapped, in an attempt to fix their broken relationship. This is quickly dismissed when she meets his wife Paige, a white, Canadian woman and bluntly informs him that he should've married a 'nice, Mexican girl' instead. Of course, this is in front Paige who doesn't react however, both Jorge and his daughter Maria quickly put the old woman in her place.
At the time, I wondered if perhaps this was too harsh. I then read a blog from a lady who is a white, American living in Mexico, married to a Mexican man. In one particular post, she talked about how her mother-in-law reacted in much the same way when her son married a woman who wasn't Mexican so suddenly, my original instincts didn't seem so extreme. It happens.
This is just one of many examples of how I research backward.