DIVING INTO RESEARCH
When I’m working on the Westen books I’m lucky to have the setting in a fictional town I set in central and northeast Ohio. That gives me freedom to make the town, it’s characters and the plots free reign as long as they are contemporary. Most research may be things like laws, career specifics (i.e.police, firefighters) and sometimes logistics.
When we’re in the Edgars’ world, the research is a little deeper. These books take place in real cities. So I have a deep love affair with Google Maps. It lets me not only define the areas where the action takes place, but sometimes like in DRAINED, it let me find areas of Cleveland for my characters to live, places for the villian to “hunt” and even let me describe abandoned buildings. I also talked with a member of the Cleveland Forensics department and then delved into the actual workings of the bloodbank systems, (some of which I knew from years of doing high-risk obstetrics nursing).
Historical books take the most research. For the Neptune’s Five books, I not only had to learn about the year before America entered WWII, which was the settings for book 1 and 2, but I needed to research the areas for the books to take place. In SHANGHAIED I discovered there was an emergency shipyard built in Wilmington, NC. How cool. That set up the entire plot. In TRACKED, I used the actual setting for the Carolina war maneuvers performed by the Army in late Novemeber of 1941. In these books I also had to learn about the waters off the Carolina coast and discovered that U-boats sailed just off the coast of North Carolina like sharks waiting for our boats to come by. I also had to learn a lot about spies that were in America and the Western Hemisphere at that time. There’s also discriptions of clothing, hair styles, weapons, and even real people, like generals, admirals and politicians of the time.
So, when you read TRACKED, I hope all that research pulls you into 1941 and lets you feel as if you’re living the story with the Neptune’s Five team.
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