Welcome Wednesdays – Research Paper

Welcome Wednesdays – Research Paper

Welcome to this week’s edition of Welcome Wednesdays.  Today’s topic is all about research.  We all do it for our books, and it can lead us to interesting places (and for those of us who venture into mystery territory, it can leave us with a Google history that might look alarming if you didn’t know we were auhors!)

So the question for this morning is: tell us about the strangest, weirdest, most off-beat or most interesting thing you had to research for one of your books.

Be sure to tell us a little about the book, too, and leave a link so we can learn more about it!


I’ve had to do a lot of research for the Dream Series books.  My heroine, Sara, starts out in college (and her school is basically where I went to college with most of the names changed, so I could take a lot of the first book from memory).  But in book two, DREAM DOCTOR, she goes to medical school.  And when I began writing it, I didn’t know the first thing about med school.  So that was a huge topic to research, and the most interesting thing I had to learn about was Gross Anatomy class – dissection.  Throguh the magic of the Look Inside feature on Amazon, I was able to pull details and whole lesson plans out of the standard textbook, Grant’s Dissector, so when Sara is in class, she’s following the schedules and procedures a real medical student would be following.


And now it’s your turn!

(when you’re done here, please stop by Exquisite Quills, where there are daily memes just like this one and plenty of fantastic authors you can discover!)

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18 Replies to “Welcome Wednesdays – Research Paper”

  1. When translating Casanova’s “Story Of My Escape” which I eventually self-published in 2014, I was about halfway through when I realised that all the times being quoted made absolutely no sense at all! I then had to learn all about “Italian time”, a system of counting the hours which meant the new “day” officially started half an hour after sunset, with the Angelus bell.

    I learned a lot from translating Casanova, but the fact that I wouldn’t even have been able to tell the time in the Venice of 1755 was a bit of an eye opener! I also researched the rest of Casanova’s life, and that was… certainly interesting 😉

    <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Story-Escape-prisons-Republic-otherwise-ebook/dp/B00I0QI332/"Story Of My Escape" is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

  2. Picking one weird research topic is really difficult. I write crime novels, so my search history is littered with queries about Chimera DNA, spinning blood to remove DNA, whole genome amplification, blood spatter patterns from a moving body, all those sorts of things.

    The weirdest was probably researching how quickly adipocere develops. When bodies are found in water, they’re covered in this fatty, waxy greenish layer, but the exact thickness and colour depends on a number of things including body weight, fat percentage, time in the water, specific gravity (salinity), tidal/river flow, oxygenation, the presence of fish. My novels are set in London, so the Thames is an obvious dump point. One common myth is that criminals wrap a body in chicken wire and throw it in somewhere downstream.. which works, to a point.

    Forensics, police procedure, the criminal justice system, it’s all got to sound right otherwise a crime novel doesn’t have that immersive quality.

    The novels, in order, are Dead on Demand (free everywhere), Cleaver Square ($2.99 but it’ll be on countdown next week for 99c, Monday to Sunday) and Ten Guilty Men. If you see this post and want a free copy, shoot me an email on authors at 90daysnovel dot com.

  3. I do a lot of research on my books despite what some other people think. LOL Mostly people who give me bad reviews. I spend hours researching information for my books. I mostly get my information from Wikipedia, google and the library. Sometimes I will call upon some man friends for war information or historical battles.

    The hardest research I believe I have ever had to do is the Emperor Nero and history in 59 AD. Not much information exists from that time in history. Nero was an awful man yet revered by many. I do not understand the man at all. His motives for things he did baffle me. He must have been a tad bit mad is my conclusion.

    I also found researching Shawnee Indian life a bit daunting in that they did not live in Kentucky very long before they were moved out west by the American Government.

    Hence, research can be quite an undertaking for a novel. I find that fans want accuracy above all.

  4. I’m always having to stop in the middle of writing a book when I find myself in a historical pickle because I realize there’s a gap in my understanding about some feature of 19th or 19th-century life.

    During the writing of ONCE AGAIN I suddenly realized I needed to know how farmers in 1788 put up hay. During ONLY ONE WAY HOME I had to learn the details of how ferry boats operated on the Ohio River in 1838 so I could describe the ordeal of the Cherokee as they passed through southern Illinois on their Trail of Tears. During research for HOW SWEET THE SOUND I learned far more excruciating details of the way the river pirates of Cave in Rock tortured some of their victims (as a pastime when they were bored). But for my current work in progress, A MATTER OF TIME, it was the invention of Mason jars, a much more pleasant subject, indeed.

    All my books may be found on Amazon in Kindle, paperback (and some in audio): http://amzn.to/1hyGYxU

  5. For my Resurrected series, I had to research how space travel may theoretically be possible using wormholes and read (and tried to understand) a lecture delivered by Stephen Hawking on the subject.

    But the strangest thing I researched for that series is how bodies are embalmed prior to a funeral. I learned far more about this particular process than I’d ever wanted to know!

  6. For my Reborn series, I had to figure out whether it was hypothetically possible for desiccated flesh to be regenerated. Turns out there are real living creatures — microorganisms called tardigrades — that can be dehydrated for decades (at the least) and return to life within hours of water touching them. It’s a weird fact that inspired my whole series.

    My books on Amazon

  7. James – what an awesome feature!

    For Finding My Escape, my YA paranormal thriller, I didn’t do a lot of research, but I did dabble a little in murder techniques – not too much – just blood splatter and all that. CSI was a big help, but according to my daughter, who’s on the Criminal Justice path at her high school, I shouldn’t really be relying on TV programs for accuracy.

    I also did some research into East Tennesse. I practically grew up there (my grandparents had land in Seveirville), but I wanted to make my fictional town seem as real as possible.

    If you want to check out the book, you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Fran-Veal/e/B006VHF6N2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

  8. I have a character in When Least Expected who often quotes Bible verses. (I have another who doesn’t much believe in God.) While I may be in church most Sundays, I don’t know the Bible well and cannot quote specific verses. My minister told me about Biblegateway.com and I used it a lot writing the book. I entered a word, phrase, or topic, and it gave me a list of pertinent Bible verses. It’s an intriguing site that I have returned to more than once when someone makes a religious observation that sparks my curiosity. I never knew there was a cross-reference source like this one on the internet.

  9. I took an extreme route in the name of research. I was working as a copywriter and raising children alone. My lifelong dream had been to write. I’d put it off for far too long and finally put pen to paper (hands on keyboard, in my case) and began the daunting task of writing one of the novel series’ I’d always wanted to write. There was a problem, though. I had no knowledge of what my character did for a living, so I enrolled in nursing school at my local university and earned a nursing degree and license.

    After graduation, I accepted a job in that field and learned the ropes while I continued to write and plot out my series. That began in 2008. I earned my full-time living as a nurse and still did freelance copywriting while raising a family and writing.

    Four of those books in that Cozy Mystery series are now available. Three others will be released over the next two months and an additional ten are fully plotted out and in various stages of writing.

    The first book is available for 99 cents and all are FREE with Kindle Unlimited. http://amzn.to/1i1L95F

  10. It wasn’t actually an odd subject, but for “Vain Pursuits” I had to take up yoga because one of my characters was doing it. That research paid off in a new health regimen for me.

  11. For the first in my zombie series I needed to research heavily to make the pseudo-science convincing, especially as my main beta reader is an analytical scientist and was ready to drag me over hot coals if I didn’t have at least a shred of believability to the origin of my zombies. So food chain adulteration, reptilian physiology and the phenomena of parthenogenesis (unaided reproduction) occupied quite a bit of my time. It seems to have gone down well with zombie readers. For those who are interested he first of the series is available for free on my website – http://www.rubybarnesbooks.com/

  12. In my 14 book Mike Angel mystery series set in the 1960s, I always wrap the tale around some actual events, persons and places. This has led to researching J. Edgar Hoover’s peccadillos, Howard Hughes buying out a Vegas Hotel after refusing to check out, the early century French Bonnot gang first to rob banks using automobiles, mythological characters, the Detroit Purple gang, chop shop basics, exotic pistols, Communist elements in Reed College, etc.

  13. My fantasy-western series Daughter of the Wildings is set in a world loosly based on the American West of the 1880s. The fourth book in the series, To The Gap, takes place on a cattle drive, which I knew nothing about so I needed to do some research. I wanted to go beyond the fictionalized (and glamorized) versions in western movies and novels, so I searched and found a book called The Log of a Cowboy, by Andy Adams, who was a real working trail drive cowboy in the 1880s. It’s a novel based on his own experiences, and is considered the most authentic account available of life on a cattle drive during that era. I had a lot of fun learning about how cattle drives work, what daily life was like for the cowboys, and, especially, the kinds of things that could go wrong! The book was published in 1903 and was not written for our modern-day sensibilities, but if you’re interested in the old west and cowboys, it’s a fascinating read.

    Beneath the Canyons, Book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings, is available at Amazon and other retailers listed on my website.

  14. For The Salbine Sisters, I researched how amputations were performed in the middle ages. One of the most interesting things I learned was that most medical advances in earlier times were made due to wars. Battlefield physicians were always improvising better ways to treat wounded soldiers. Many of their discoveries are used to this day, or led to processes and procedures employed by modern-day medicine.

  15. For my latest release, DRUID WARRIOR’S HEART, I researched many things for the book, since it takes place in the 16th century, but one I was most intrigued by is the history of knitting. Before I started the book I never knew just how far it goes back in history. I also learned (or rather, and still in the process of learning) how to knit, myself, truly getting into the life of my story, in a way.
    If anyone would like to check the book out it’s available at Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/0a7q1b

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