Chris Mooney is the critically acclaimed author of Deviant Ways, World Without End, and Remembering Sarah, which was nominated for the Barry Award and the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Last year he applied the Page 69 Test to his latest novel, The Missing.
From a Q & A at the author's website:
What kind of research do you normally conduct for your books?Read the entire Q & A.
I did a ton of forensic research for The Missing, most of which had to be scrapped during revisions. It was too much technical stuff. You get to a point where you have to remind yourself that you're writing a story and not a handbook on forensics.
What I do now is write the book, and then when the forensics and police procedural stuff pops up, I pass the questions on to some of the experts I've met in the field. You can waste a lot of time researching things that never makes its way into the book. It's better to write a draft, then do some research. Forensics is changing all the time.
What I find more challenging is trying to maintain the balance between fiction and what really happens inside a crime lab. For example, in CSI, the lab technicians get DNA results in an hour. That doesn't happen in real life. And the people who work in the lab don't carry guns and interrogate suspects. I'm constantly reworking things in my books to try to make things as realistic as possible, but in the end, it's fiction.
The Page 69 Test: The Missing.
My Book, The Movie: The Secret Friend.