If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

How Good is Your Research? By Maris Soule

I recently attended a writers’ group where members read a bit of their work aloud and the group made comments. Three writers were faulted on their research. One for having the wrong make of car, one for incorrectly describing the setting, and the third for his description of police procedure.

As one member pointed out, if readers come across incorrect information, they lose confidence in the writer and often toss the book aside. I agree, and I have done that.

A writer must never underestimate a reader’s knowledge. No matter what the genre, it’s important that the information presented be as accurate as possible. This means the writer must do the research. Simply going on-line and checking Wikipedia is not enough.

So how do you do this research? For my thriller, Echoes of Terror, set in Skagway, Alaska, I used a variety of sources. I have friends who, in 2007 when I started plotting the book, were going to be in Skagway volunteering for the National Park system. I’d wanted to visit Alaska for years, so my husband and I booked a trip to Alaska. We met my friends when our cruise ship docked in Skagway. They became our taxi and guides during our time there. They also set up an appointment for me to meet with one of the park rangers.

I also sent an email to the Skagway police department and set up a meeting with one of their officers while I was in port. He met with me the day we arrived, gave me a tour of the police department and verbally walked me through the steps they would take if notified of a teenage girl’s disappearance.

I can’t begin to describe how much additional information I received simply by talking with these people, seeing the facilities, and touring the area. With both the park ranger and the officer, I continued an email correspondence after I started writing the book.

I also went online and researched information, both historical and current, about the area; read articles about the abduction of teenage girls; and subscribed to the Skagway newspaper. When I had the final draft of the book ready, I asked my friends to fact-check it for me.

Is it possible I have something in the book that isn’t correct? Of course, there is. I know my police officer in the story acts in a way that is contrary to police procedure, but I’m hoping her actions are understandable under the circumstances.

My point is, do all you can to make sure what you have in your story is accurate. If you don’t, it can hurt you.


Maris Soule started her career writing romances (25 published, 2 RITA finalists). At the turn of the century (2000), she began writing mysteries and suspense novels. (The Crows, As the Crow Flies, and Eat Crow and Die, were published by Five Star Mystery/Gale/Cengage and A Killer Past, was published by Robert Hale, Ltd.) In March 2017, Echoes of Terror, her 30th book and one of the last released by Five Star Mystery, will be available. She has also had a couple short stories published.

Originally from California, Soule met and married her husband while she was attending U.C. Santa Barbara They moved to Michigan in the early ‘70s, where they still live (except in the winter when they head for Florida). Over the years, she taught high school art and math and raised two children she’s very proud of. Reading and writing have always been her passion, and she’s presently working on two new mysteries. For more info: http://MarisSoule.com


Maris said...

Thank you, E.B., for the opportunity to appear on your blog. The release date for ECHOES OF TERROR is getting closer and I can hardly wait.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


Excellent advice! Sounds like you do thorough research. I believe every book needs to be well-researched whether it's fiction or non-fiction, contemporary or historical.

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, but I've bogged down in too much research. I think you must research, write, and then decide what will be discarded. Then research deeply those parts you keep. Knowing when and what to research is important to save yourself time. I've included too much research when I thought it fascinating. But it was way outside of my plot.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I get bogged down in research, too. I write as much as I can, keeping a running list of easy items I can google and more complicated things that will require journal articles and books. I do research chores at the end of the day.

Gloria Alden said...

My fictional town is in an area I've lived in all my life. It has a bit of a gardening theme and I've a gardener, too. My police force is very small so I don't have to get into any serious police procedures. When I had a Civil War Reenactment in one book, I researched guns from that era and consulted a writer friend with her husband are Civil War buffs and take part in Reenactments, and all her books are about the Civil War era. When I wrote Murder in the Corn Maze, I went through one for the first time. I have a sister who is a botanist, and a niece who is married to a small town cop.

Maris said...

Gloria, it sounds like you do a great job with your research.

Maris said...

To E.B. Davis. You are right. We can go overboard on the research. The more we know, the more realistic we can make something sound, but when the research becomes more important than the writing, there's a problem. Also, no matter how much I know about a subject, place, or object, what appears in the book is usually only a very small percentage of that knowledge, and I often find it best to wait until I have the rough draft so I know specifically what I need to delve into.

Maris said...

Margaret, that's a good idea. By waiting to do the research after your writing for the day, you don't get sidetracked and you know specifically what you need to research.

KM Rockwood said...

I write mostly about things and places with which I am very familiar, but of course have to do research at times, and I can get overinvolved in that at the expense of the writing because it's fun. (Yes, visiting an iron furnace museum was important for a short story whose main characters were iron furnace workers, but did I really have to visit three of them? Two were multi-day trips that took away from the time I had to write.)

One of my frustrations is when editors (and readers!) "know" things which aren't true, often from having a skewed idea of the conditions in correctional institutions or the rights a convicted felon will surrender in order to get parole, or just from watching inaccurate things on TV.

Maris said...

KM Rockwood I love that you visited 3 iron furnace museums. Yes, it's easy to get over involved in our research. And how frustrating to be told something you know is accurate isn't.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great advice and info Maris!
Good luck and God's blessings

Grace Topping said...

Thanks, Maris, for the terrific points you made. Sometimes writers feel so much pressure to deliver within tight time constraints that it is tempting to cut corners when it comes to doing research.

Maris said...

Thanks, Pamela. Research is one aspect of writing I truly love. I guess I'll always be a student.

Maris said...

Grace Topping, I understand having to work under a deadline. Although I loved it when I had contracts for two or three books, nowadays, I find it a pleasure to take my time with a book. ECHOES OF TERROR actually took me 7 years to write from when I had the initial idea until I went to contract. I don't recommend taking that long, but I needed the time with this book.