Monday, July 22, 2013

How Much I Learn As a Writer

One of the perks of writing mystery novels is that I get to poke at a wide variety of interesting subjects. Although I never enjoyed research that much in high school and college, I’ve now become a research junkie. When I get involved in a new writing project, I typically collect books on relevant subjects, often visit certain locales and meander through the Internet.

Along the way I’ve learned about retirement homes, care homes (assisted living), nursing homes, water treatment facilities, stamp collecting, match book collecting, police procedures, martial arts including cane fu, art dealers, money laundering, synesthesia, shape-shifters, vampires, Indian casinos, scams, dinner theaters, the Switzerland Trail Railroad in Colorado, cargo cults, terrorism, serial killers, paranormal activities, historical mysteries and mystery writers, pickleball, platform tennis, city council proceedings, Athenasius Kircher, Nikola Tesla, seventeenth century Rome, World War II and prisoner of war camps, to name a few..

Places I’ve visited for research include Venice Beach and Los Angeles; California; Honolulu, Kailua and Kaneohe, Hawaii; Seattle, Washington; Victoria, BC, Canada; Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchican, Alaska; Boulder, Denver, Golden, Buena Vista, Colorado. The Pacific Northwest, Canada and Alaska locations also involved taking an Alaskan cruise—a tough tour of duty. I’ve also researched locations I haven’t visited including Bali, Karachi, Afghanistan, Dubai and Mombasa.

Also along the way I get to read cool books on these various topics as well.

All in all, I have to say that the writing is a good profession. In addition to the research, I get to meet interesting people. It’s all fodder for the writing.

Mike Befeler

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