Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Research Trip

By Maggie

Whenever we're writing a new mystery, we authors often have to research topics that arise in our novels. While writing the last seven of the Kelly Flynn Knitting Mysteries, I've found myself interviewing police detectives on investigatory procedures for drug-related crimes, police officers in the justice center on booking and arrest procedures, patrol officers on their experiences with drug overdoses regarding college students, alpaca ranchers, sheep ranchers, wool market vendors, Denver art gallery owners, fiber artists, toured numerous art galleries, interviewed the real Lambspun shop owner, Shirley, on dyeing procedures for newly-spun fleeces, and a PhD clinical psychologist who's counseled victims of sexual violence. A pretty wide spectrum.

Well, add another topic to the list. Guns. Yep. Last weekend, I went to a huge gun show to interview firearms dealers. I was writing a scene in the current Kelly Flynn mystery, the eighth in the series, and I needed information. In fact, I had already finished the entire rough draft two weeks ago, but one of the things I knew I needed to add during the "Revision Period" was the information I could only obtain from a gun dealer. Thus, my weekend visit.

Kelly needs information on an old World War Two pistol. it's been used in a murder, and she's convinced it's a clue, a BIG clue. Turns out she's right. But, she can only prove it with the help of the information she learns from those gun dealers. Just like my experience, Kelly will find the dealers to be very kind and helpful in answering all her many questions and pointing her to other people who will also provide information.

Meanwhile, I got to join the crowds of folks who attended the gun show. There were firearms of every description----antique guns from the Revolutionary War and every war since and every type of hunting rifle imaginable. Along with vendors of jewelry, clothes, food, books, even pretty silk scarves. No kidding. I swear I saw the same scarves there that I've seen at fiber markets.

So, I got a BBQ pork sandwich and a gourmet coffeeshop coffee (they have that, too), found a table, and sat and took notes while I enjoyed my lunch and watched the folks wander past the vendors. It reminded me of a sporting goods & RV show I attended years ago.

Have any of you attended a large exhibition or convention lately?