Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Meticulous Research And Me

by Tracy Kiely

Seriously? It’s bad enough that every week when I log in to post my blog, I’m greeted by the overwhelming evidence of my…um, oh, let’s just call it what it is - sloth. Without fail, I am forced to recognize that some of my fellow bloggers have their posts written and neatly placed in the queue days, if not weeks, before schedule.
It’s a bit like having Gwyneth Paltrow assigned to be your workout buddy at the gym. (“Hi! I work out three-hours a day and eat so clean that I’m actually aging backwards! I just wrote a bestselling, all-clean cookbook called It’s All Good.)
And so, what do I find this week, after a hellish, nine-hour ride home across six states during which our family cat lay sprawled across my lap only moving to dig his needle nails into my thighs? I find this week’s topic: Do you ever interview actual police officers or detectives to get their comments on practices, procedures, methods, equipment, etc?
We’re supposed to interview real police for our books? CRAP!
In that moment, I was reduced to a kind of waking dream, not unsimilar to the one when you find yourself back in school on the day of the big test. The test you didn’t study for because you’ve been inexplicitly absent for the past six weeks. You can’t even remember where your locker is, let alone the combination, and you’re supposed to take a test on the three main reasons leading to the decline of the Roman Empire and its effect on BBC 1 programming (don’t judge my dreams).
Speaking of dreams, I recently saw some show in which a sleep “expert” revealed the meaning of several common dreams. Guess what she said was behind the “Back to School, Haven’t Studied” one? That it represents our “excitement” at starting a new journey.
She then went on to say that the one in which we find ourselves naked in public represents self-confidence, and the one in which we find ourselves falling off a building into a horrible free-fall represents an adventurous spirit.
Are there really people that obliviously happy all the time?
Oh, wait. Yes, there are. My imaginary gym partner Gwyneth.      
Okay, so back to our topic. Interviewing police.
As you might have guessed by now, I did not interview any police for my books. Some might say that it is because I’m so easily distracted from the topic at hand (this blog being a case in point), but to be fair, my books are cozies, not police procedurals. In my books, the scenes with police are usually in the form of a conversation/interview. Mostly, they take place away from the police station, and are used as a device to present information/red herrings.  
I make sure that I’ve got the right titles for the police based on the location of the crime, not to let them drink while on duty, and to recite the Miranda warning when necessary.      
Other than that, I focus on the puzzle of the crime and the people affected by it, and then I try to convince myself ala Gwyneth that “It’s all good.”


Catriona McPherson said...

You'll never see my name ahead of yours in that blog queue, Tracy. And as for Ms P and her can-do attitude . . . it led her to believe she could do and English accent in Emma. Nuff said.

Maggie Barbieri said...

The only reason I interview the police is because my father is a retired cop and you just can't get enough of "the hands were found in one state, the head in another" stories. And "sloth" is my middle name. Today, I made two roasted chickens for a sick friend, ate a bag of Sun Chips and read recaps of Survivor online rather than write. Great post, Tracy.