Don’t Judge My Search History
– Karoline Barrett
Author Karoline Barrett stopped by to explain those late-night Google search terms.
(Note to self: clear browser history…)
When I began writing Bun For Your Life, the first book of my new Bread & Batter cozy mystery series, I knew there was lots of research I had to do. Research is actually on of my favorite parts of writing, so that didn’t bother me. Especially, since I could do it all without leaving my computer and the comfort of my house. It must have been more difficult to be a writer pre-Internet. Imagine writing in your pajamas, your hair’s disheveled, it’s twenty degrees out, and now you have to run to the library to research killing with poison from a puffer fish. At least at home, you can Google that, and a whole list of other methods on how to kill your fictional characters, without raising suspicion. Unless your computer is confiscated by the F.B.I. for some reason. Other ways to kill my fictional characters that are forever settled into my search history are: Killing someone with poisonous plants, killing someone with arsenic, killing someone with cyanide, killing someone with strychnine, killing by suffocation. You get the picture. So, what method did I choose to kill poor Calista Danforth Brody, the victim in Bun For Your Life? I’ll give you a hint. None of the above.
However, my research wasn’t all about how my killer went about killing her. Since Calista owned an apple orchard, there was research about apples, from how they’re grown, to how new varieties are found. For that, I Googled, and talked to the inventor of the Honey Crisp apple in Minnesota, as well as apple breeders at Cornell University. All without leaving home. I also had to know about land surveying, about which I knew absolutely zero. At least with apples, I knew they grew on a tree. I found a surveyor who was very happy to answer all my questions and even help me a little with my plot. Next, came small town police departments. How do they work? What’s the hierarchy? Who’s involved? How does a murder investigation take place? I did find things on the Internet, but I wanted to hear it first-hand. I emailed a police sergeant from my town’s police department. He was very good about explaining things. I’m also lucky to be Facebook friends with Detective Stacy Eaton, who also happens to be a best-selling author. She also was very kind in answering all my questions. I really loved emailing back and forth with Jennifer Fisher. She runs an awesome Nancy Drew website. Like almost every other cozy mystery writer out there, Nancy is a favorite of mine; she had to make an appearance in Bun For Your Life!
I’m not saying that leaving your home to actually talk to people in doing research is a bad thing, or that I don’t want to ever do that, but there’s something good about poking around on the Internet a little, and voilà! You’re an expert on killing your fictional characters! To read more about me, and to order my books please visit karolinebarrett.com I love hearing from readers and other authors!