I'm really excited to be taking part in the Canadian blog tour for Eileen Cook's new novel, With Malice. As part of the tour, I have the pleasure of having Eileen Cook here today to talk about how she goes about doing research for all her books, and in particular for With Malice. Here is what she had to say.
How does your research process change from one book to another (if it does at all)?First I should admit that I LOVE the research part of writing. I’ve learned the most interesting and random things. For example, did you know more people are killed by falling vending machines than in shark attacks? Makes you rethink getting that Diet Coke doesn’t it?I tackle research in three different ways: 1) Online 2) Libraries and 3) Talk to People. The way I research doesn’t change much from book to book, but how much time I spend doing each way varies.1) Online: How did we ever live without the Internet? I’m always amazed at the things you can find—pictures, maps, research articles etc. all without leaving home. And, at least for me, I find one search tends to lead to something else and then before you know it I’m learning things I didn’t even know I wanted to know.2) Libraries: I”m a full on library junkie. I still find it amazing/wonderful/magical that there are these places with thousands of books that they will let you take FOR FREE. It’s like having a BFF with an unlimited book budget and let’s you borrow as much as you want. What many people don’t know is how helpful librarians can be. They are research ninjas. You can go to a librarian ask her/him just about anything and they will help you hunt down an answer. Libraries are a writer’s best friend.3) Other People: Once I have a pretty good idea of where I want the story to go I like to talk to people who have direct experience of whatever I’m writing about. In WITH MALICE I talked to lawyers, psychologists, people with brain injuries, police, and also a teen who had been accused of a crime (in her case stealing) about how she felt during the process. I want to understand their perspectives as it helps me bring the story more alive than just reading about it myself. I’m really grateful for everyone who shared his or her experiences with me.My only challenge is to remember that no matter how interesting it might be—eventually I need to stop researching and start writing.
Thank you, Eileen, for taking the time to answer my question. Be sure to check back later today to see what I thought about the book. For now, all I'll say is that this is the kind of story that keeps you guessing the whole way through and makes you question everything you think you know about it. But it makes for a fantastic read.