Today’s author is someone who has been on the blog multiple times and an all around great lady! Liz Coley is a hybrid author, an author who is both traditionally and self published. Check out Pretty Girl-13, the Tor Maddox series, and others from this fabulous author and have a look at last year’s post about being a hybrid author.
JUST BROWSING, THANK YOU
By Liz Coley
Authors share a common fear—that the NSA or FBI or CIA is going to come pounding at their front door one day to demand an explanation and that they’ve landed themselves on a watch list as persons of suspicion for their nefarious browsing. After all, as we thriller writers believe (and use shamelessly as a plot device), nothing that happens on our phones or computers is ever truly private. There is no forgetful Vegas of the internet. No matter how assiduously we erase our browser histories, someone will be alerted that we queried any or all of the following: ways to dispose of a body, the conditions of human remains after six months, best places to shoot a person to incapacitate but not kill, odorless and tasteless poisons, how to build a cell phone triggered explosive, half-life of radioactive substances, typical injuries following a car crash, non-survivable fall height, etc. Our research takes us into weird and dangerous corners of the human experience when we are planning fiction.
On the other hand, the internet has made it simple to check the phase of the moon on January 3, 2103, to know high and low tide off San Diego on a particular Tuesday last year, duration and extent of a solar eclipse in 849 AD as seen from the Yucatan peninsula, average temperature in Vladivostok in March, the pronunciation of ancient Mayan words, the genetic code for the canine flu, techniques for hypnotism, how to read palms. In the course of my research for a dozen odd manuscripts, all of these have come up, including the watch list items.
For many authors, the joy of probing and discovering new information is a huge part of what makes writing fun. Some of the most impressive authors to me are those who come from a background in journalism and seem to have a knack for fearless questioning and experiential research. I’ve done a fair amount of research, but I feel like a real hack next to these folks who have gone to the ends of the earth or the depths of ancient libraries or into the front seats of police cruisers in the name of research. While common advice to new writers is “write what you know,” I think it would be better to suggest, “write what you want to know.” A vast curiosity about people and things and processes is what makes us tick.
Liz is giving away some books as part of our giveaway this month. Enter now for the chance to win.
From my shelf to yours,
Erin & Liz