Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May #IWSG: All in the Name of Research



First Wed of Every Month


May IWSG Day Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?




I am privileged to live in Mark Twain's boyhood hometown, where I can spy on the tourists and stick my nose in the past any day I please.

My favorite activity besides spying or eavesdropping, of course, is taking photographs. I think the twelve-year-old me has yet to grow up.

Part of my recent research for my current MG mystery led me to the most obvious place, hospitals. Teenage boys and accidents go together like peanut butter and jelly. Trust me, I know. Built in 1915, St. Elizabeth's Hospital still stands after more than a century. The abandoned rooms swirl with paranormal activity and trash and broken windows. Ghost hunters are drawn by the dozens to this old relic. The icing on the cake, there's a morgue in the basement. I needed to research one (preferably an autopsy room.) Since I'm writing MG, I had to keep it PG and lighthearted. Humor is a great coping mechanism for dealing with the macabre. I chose to avoid the low budget horror flick and leave the sightseeing to Ghostbusters or vandals, the internet being a safe alternative. But the exterior!! fueled my creative process.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Quincy Herald Whig


On a lighter note, my research also took me to the Mississippi River. Nice excuse for an early morning excursion.




For future research and stories, the Mark Twain Hotel holds a special place in my heart. Take my word for it, the architecture in the foyer is to die for. I will visit again someday. I've since lost the photos from my first trip back in time. Because the building is no longer a hotel (apartments), they keep the security pretty tight.


I can't wait to read everyone's interesting stories today! Happy researching, exploring, and eavesdropping.