Have you ever wondered how much research goes into writing a mystery? In this day and age, it’s easy enough to Google just about anything. So how important is it for an author to be on location in order to produce an accurate scene? One that will please the reader as well as a Jeopardy champion know-it-all.
Although my books are cozy mysteries, Laurel McKay, my protagonist, has ended up in a number of dangerous situations. For authenticity, I decided that I should experience the same situations that she encounters, but without the perils. Mostly. So I’ve learned how to drive a backhoe, danced in a ballroom competition, discovered the joys of ATV riding and zip-lining in Hawaii, and drunk copious cups of Kona coffee as well as numerous pitchers of daiquiris in search of the perfect one (Lilikoi).
I’ve also climbed inside a wine crusher (terrifying), ridden in a stagecoach and sampled donuts across the country.
That donut research was definitely the most dangerous! To my waistline!
My current WIP, Dying for a Diamond, takes place on a Caribbean cruise. Now you probably think I picked that location to give me an excuse to take a cruise. And you would be completely right.
Two years ago, while on a Dancing with the Stars cruise, I bumped into a fan of cozy mysteries. Liz Davies and I became online friends and we decided book six needed to take place on a cruise ship. She assembled a wonderful group of ladies and gents from all over the country, and together we combed the ship for potential scenes of the crime.
We discovered that not all passengers were as enthralled as we were with finding the best place to stuff a stiff, so we discreetly formed the DB (dead body) club. The crew, the dance cast, a security officer, and ship photographer were also more than happy to help us find places to hide my poor victim.
Or victims. Occasionally I get carried away and this ship certainly had enough excellent hiding places. One of the members of the DB Club even acted out a scene we called DYING FOR A DISCO!
But just because we researched the ship from one end to the other, it doesn’t mean I’ve made my final decision just yet. I want to hear from my creative readers. For those of you have taken a cruise, tell me some likely hiding places. And if you haven’t been on a cruise, let your imagination go wild. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in a drawing to win a $25 gift card of your choice.
If your suggestion ends up being the actual crime scene, you will be acknowledged in the book. And I may even throw in a fake diamond! Leave a comment by midnight on March 8 to be entered in the drawing.