“I write because I want more than one life,” novelist Anne Tyler has written. She’s talking about the enviable life a writer has imagining what it’s like to be someone else. Some novelists get so into the act, though, that they dive headlong into odd or even dangerous research to get the little, lived details just right. Jodi Picoult “spent time in a hardcore Arizona jail” to get background for her novel Vanishing Acts, Susan Minot traveled to Uganda to get to know girls kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army, the basis for her novel Thirty Girls, and Peter Rock explored one of the “musty” underground shelters used by former members of the Church Universal and Triumphant, a religion led by Elizabeth Clare Prophet. A reader gets to experience a writer’s extra lives, too, minus the sometimes painful research.