Research... Yuck or Yum?

“How many words did you lay down today, Vicki?” Norah says.
“Whoa. That’s not like you. How come?”
“Research.” I grin.

Research is like a holiday for me—a vacation from the daily pounding of keys. Which is why I most often leave it until after I’ve written my first draft.
Say, what?
Sounds like it makes no sense. In fact, it makes perfect sense. Some writers hate research. Others can take it or leave it. Me? (And I’m not alone.) I love frickin’ research. Love it.  Whether it be for a setting, a character, a plot line, whatever. I’m there!
Which is why I try to leave it to after that first draft.  
Once I fall down the rabbit hole of research, I can take hours and even days to surface.

Some of the subjects I’ve researched over the past years:

For Chest of Bone—The FBI: This one’s drool-worthy. I was given access to their TV/Film/Writers liaisons, and I worked with Angela, the gal who consulted on The Silence of the Lambs. I know, amazing!

The Getty Villa

The Getty Villa

For Chest of Stone—The Getty Villa Museum, my favorite museum in L.A., and one of the settings for the second in my new series, the Afterworld Chronicles. The floors where Clea battles in the museum matter. So does the ceiling height, and the docents, not to mention all the cool artifacts in the building. A lot goes down at The Getty, not all of it good.

Counterintelligence and Interrogation Techniques—The Afterworld Chronicles' Clea was a counterintelligence office prior to joining the FBI. Her primary skill, interrogation. I had the privilege of interviewing a former instructor at Fort Huachuca, the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Center, a training center for interrogation techniques, data collection and covert operations. He was most forthcoming, and assured me that Clea could, indeed, knit while interrogating a subject. A good ploy on her part, and disconcerting to those she interrogates.

For my Tally Whyte mystery/thriller series, beginning with Body Parts: Canine Corps dogs—Tally's Penny in the series is a tripod former Canine Corps dog. I got to meet a dozen of the dogs and their officer partners. Spend some time with them. So wonderful!

Maine, specifically the Bar Harbor region for The Dead Stone. Yeah, that was tough. Not! Lobster, graveyards, the Atlantic. What more could a gal want?

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), Massachusetts—Plays a huge role in my Tally series. Although Tally counsels the families of homicide victims, her office is at OCME. I’ve had several up-close-and-personal tours.

The Art of Gaman

The Art of Gaman

The art of Gaman plays a key part in The Grief Shop, Tally’s third mystery novel. After placement in the internment camps during WWII, Japanese-Americans practiced Gaman, a Japanese expression for “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.” Those interred used scraps and found materials to make furniture, art, and other objects to beautify their surroundings.

I’ve researched dozens more aspects of my novels, and each one fascinated me. How about you? Do you did research? Hate it? Or what?


Posted on June 18, 2016 .