Greg Cox wrote:
Exactly. Just like it helps to be a lawyer if you're writing a legal thriller . . . but it's not mandatory as long as you do your homework and can fake it well.
I've always respected authors who ask various professionals to act as consultants on their stories if there's something they want to write about that's outside of their area of expertise. Or even with works of fiction, asking other people familiar with their characters if saying certain lines makes sense. I've never met Jeff Combs, but if I were writing a story with Shran in it, I might try asking him if my depiction of Shran made sense to him in terms of how he played the character.
And it's often surprising how eager experts can be to help. When I wrote my first CSI book, I sent out an email to a real-life forensic sculptor asking if I could pick her brain. Not only did she reply, but we ended up spending over a hour on phone while she patiently explained that my "brilliant" twist made no sense whatsoever . . . . )
Likewise, Kevin Grevioux (who plays Raze in the UNDERWORLD movies) let me grill him on what he imagined his character's backstory to be.