Ever wondered how your favourite writers research their brilliant books? Well, Diane Saxon is here to demystify the process and tell you all about how she like to research for her psychological thriller books.
Research Ahead of Writing a Psychological Thriller
I’m a naturally nosey person. I suck up information which I can’t necessarily quote back to anyone, but it’s there in the back of my mind, just waiting for the trigger, the key to unlock the door to all those lovely nuggets of information.
Before starting to write my DS Jenna Morgan series, I booked myself onto two short university courses in Forensics. The courses were amazing and provided me with a great deal of background information that I continue to be aware of when writing my police procedurals.
Even better is the addition of personal experience. Not necessarily mine. With a husband whose 33 years in the police service spanned a vast landscape of experience I have been able to pick his brain, often at 3:00 am when mine decides to kick in with an idea. From ‘step me through making an arrest,’ to ‘at what point would you command a trigger to be pulled’ or ‘how would you speak with this person? Tone, words, body language.’ As my husband has very little imagination, but a fantastically logical mind, this serves me well.
When conducting my research, I want to wallow in it. I don’t want to read dry facts, I want to meet the people, feel their emotions. In writing What She Saw, I spent time at the local fire station, and listened to Fire Officers stories. When I wanted information on fire arms police officers, I took an expert in that area for coffee, or two or three.
I love to absorb people’s real tales of their experiences. It makes for a richness that can be stitched into the characters I write about.
Before really starting to write My Sister’s Secret I was attending World Book Night, helping the local library to hand out books in the market place. One of the librarian’s friends passed by, with a marked interest in my books. No sooner did she confess that she was a social worker, than I had a date with her for coffee where I could pick her brain from a different angle to those of a police officer or a fire officer.
When I listen to someone, I think a little of their personality manages to weave it’s way into my characters. Not necessarily the one you would think, but something rubs off. A little magic to make my characters shine.
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