NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Monday, January 26, 2015

READY TO RESEARCH?



I write about geeks and brainiacs, so it's not surprising that I'm often asked how much technical research is required for my books.  Do I research it or do I make it up?

Well, the answer is (drum roll)…I research. A lot. Since my heroine is a hacker and her closest friends are brilliant computer nerds, I know I have to get it right. Lucky for me, my immediate family is full of geeks. I bounce ideas off of them once I have an overall plot in place. I ask dozens of questions about computers, networks, hardware and software. Not only do I need to know the types of computers my geeks would use, but how they would use them. Moreover, my characters can't just act like nerds, they have to talk like nerds, too. So I listen, eavesdrop, and make mental notes when members of my family discuss computers and technology issues. I purchased the New Hacker’s Dictionary (yes, there really is such a book!) and read it so my characters could speak in actual geek lingo. In terms of the technology, I know where I want to go and I have tons of ideas, but alas, many of my hopeful scenarios have been squashed because they weren’t technologically feasible. But I don't give up. I quiz my family ad nauseam until I find something that works.

In terms of the spy stuff...well, I almost joined the CIA
right out of college. (I opted instead for international journalism.) I got an M.A. in International Affairs with a specialty in Russian Language from George Washington University in Washington, DC. I attended a year of grad school at the University of Warsaw in Poland behind the Iron Curtain when it was still the Cold War. As a student, I smuggled out Solidarity pamphlets and letters to officials in the West. Eventually, I worked for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and disseminated information that helped topple the Berlin Wall. So, yeah, I really, really dig the spy stuff.

Have I made things up for my series? Um, yeah. Some. The novels are fiction, after all. But the devil is in the details. I really do try to make it as plausible and accurate as I can while providing a fun, light and entertaining read. But I do love to research!


So, how about you? How important is accurate research in making a story both believable and enjoyable? Can you tell when an author hasn’t done his/her homework? If you are an author, how much emphasis do you put on research?

7 comments:

Anne Marie Becker said...

Wow, Julie! You're a super spy - who knew? :D

I love that you write about a computer hacker. I find that world so fascinating.

As for me, I do the research I need to, but it's not the most fun part of the job for me, so I also invent stuff as needed. ;)

Toni Anderson said...

I love research, Julie but there's a limit how long I can spend on some stuff. I tend to read at least one research book on even the smallest aspect of a plot, but in my head one book isn't enough. It's tough but there's a line I have to mark in the sand to say 'enough'! You rock!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Urgh. That's too much research for me, Julie. I enjoy *some* research but what you're doing would just hurt my head... A spy? You were a spy? How cool is that!

jean harrington said...

Julie, Your background is so impressive. Of course, you research your books--it's in your blood. And BTW, I have a granddaughter getting her Ph.D. at G. W. Small world!

Sharon Calvin said...

I love research! I get so many good ideas and new directions when I do research. And yes, a lot of what I learn never appears on the page, but in order for me to write the scene with confidence, I need to understand the background information research gives me.
As for your scenarios not working--I bet it's only a matter of time before they ARE technologically feasible!

Maureen A. Miller said...

You are the most fascinating woman alive, Miss Julie! You know those "World's Most Interesting Man" commercials? They should do "World's Most Interesting Woman" with you! :)

Rita said...

I want everything to be accurate. I also know the more detail you provide the more chance of making an error. I expect every writer to do their research.

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