Posted by Sarah Andre
Guest post by Rolynn Anderson.
Writing is a humbling career. Every day I make presumptions and end up red-faced because I was wrong-sometimes horribly wrong-about my reckonings. FAINT, my sixth novel, released this week, is living proof of author smackdown. I took on Alzheimer’s, blindness, embalming, burial rituals, organ transplants, and clairvoyant dogs in FAINT, third in the funeral planner suspense series. No wonder the novel took me two years to write! My research on all these areas made me woozy with revelations.
Let’s take embalming. Better yet, you take embalming. Whoa! Consider the instruments and chemicals involved, the cleaning of the corpse and plumping with injections…the make-up…the dressing. Lordy, I even watched a ‘Do it at home’ embalming on You Tube. I had to hide my eyes half of the time. Among all these new learnings: Embalmers are bound by strict rules, forbidden to stray beyond their ‘normal’ tasks. They can’t even take fingerprints off the cadaver!
Blindness. Pete, a character in my novel, is a blind forensic investigator. I’d learned about blind men and women employed by the FBI after 9/11 to analyze suspect audio tapes and I wanted to explore their skill sets. Some of my characters were prejudiced against Pete. New learnings: blind people are shunned in some cultures, regarded as ‘less than,’ even evil.
Telepathic dogs. I was worried Elwood (Elly) a Scottie, who warns his mistress when she’s going to faint, was pushing a paranormal envelop. New learning: dogs can be trained to alert their owners of impending seizures and insulin lows. Elly’s skill was not a stretch, at all.
Burial rituals. Turns out every religion has a specific way to deal with the deceased. New learning: Certain orthodox religions require mourners to kiss the corpse in an open casket, within twenty-four hours.
Sounds like fiction, huh? I love what research turns up, pleased to see my presumptions challenged and energized by the complexity I get to add to characters and plots. Now, with my sixth book published, I’ve learned to test each and every assumption…but I must admit I don’t mind being wrong, because I can use that new information in my story!
It’s your turn.
GIVEAWAY QUESTION On what topic did your research for a book point out faulty assumptions? A free e-book of FAINT (you choose the format) goes to a random commenter.
Here’s FAINT, my newly released third in the Funeral Planner Suspense Series. Happy New Year, everyone! Rolynn
Their dead clients refuse to rest in peace.
How did small-town boutique funeral planning morph into crime-solving? Ask freelance embalmer Trudy Solomon, or Pete McDonald, a blind, forensic investigator. They’re unearthing mysteries of the deceased for their pregnant boss, Jan Keller, while her journalist husband, Roman, is benched by a ten million dollar defamation suit.
A dead client goes missing, and investigating his disappearance forces Trudy and Pete to confront their fiercely independent styles. When danger stalks them, will they blend brains, brawn and belief in one another to solve crimes and save themselves?