Monday, September 7, 2009

Dan Waddell

From a Q & A with Dan Waddell, author of two novels featuring genealogist Nigel Barnes, The Blood Detective and Blood Atonement:

What do you think the recent upsurge of people researching their family tree is a result of?

I think there are a few reasons. First and foremost, it's a pretty compulsive hobby. Tracking down names, searching for elusive documents, not knowing what you might find - it's easy to find yourself sucked in. Once you start there is an urge to find out all you can. Secondly, I think as people get older it awakens a sense of wanting to put your life in context. It's usually a profound event that triggers it - a birth or a death. You either wonder, like I did, what exactly it is that you are passing on to your child. Or, in the case of a death, you wonder exactly who the person was who died, how they lived and that sets you wondering about all the others who have gone before you.

Finally, while there are some people who want to do it because they want to complete an ornate family tree to hang on the wall, I think many others are motivated by the skeletons that lay in the family closet. Most family histories have at least one or two cracking stories in them. I think people are secretly a bit disappointed when they find out there's nothing juicy in their family past. There's an undeniable thrill when you find a criminal, an adulterer or some other black sheep in the family. Though maybe that's just me...

Where did you get the idea from to relate it to crime?

It just came to me after a day wading through birth, marriage and death certificates (and after several pints of beer). I'd always wanted to write crime fiction, but was determined to do it only when I had a good enough idea. Like many ideas, it just popped in my head without any effort. I knew almost immediately it would work.

Do you know of any crimes that have been solved through the use of genealogy?

I know of...[read on]
Learn more about the author and his work at Dan Waddell's website.

The Page 69 Test: Blood Atonement.

--Marshal Zeringue