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June 16, 2017
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June 15, 2017
Adventures in Research, Part II: Storm Rising
Douglas Schofield
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Showing posts by: Douglas Schofield click to see Douglas Schofield's profile
Thu
Jun 15 2017 2:00pm

Adventures in Research, Part II: Storm Rising

Last month, I described some of the high points (and hapless incidents) I encountered during my research odyssey for Time of Departure. Today, I’ll describe some of the travels, insights, and adventures that contributed to Storm Rising, my second novel with Macmillan.

Read Part I

I won’t put you into a coma by rehashing the non-fiction sources I plowed through to transform my heroine Lucy Hendricks’s story from a “what if?” idea bouncing around my imagination to a 350-page manuscript. And there simply isn’t space to detail my interactions with one of the most fascinating academics I’ve ever encountered: Dr. Jim Tucker, Director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Professor Tucker’s scientific studies of the childhood cognitive phenomenon that anchored one of the central themes of the novel was invaluable. His assistance provides a clear example of why it is so important to track down and interview experts in fields of study beyond your own radius of experience.

(To get a full sense of the range of people I consulted in developing the factual background to Storm Rising, I invite the reader to take a few moments to digest the Acknowledgements section at the end of the novel.)

Now, let’s jump to the fun stuff...

[Read more about Schofield's adventures in research!]

Mon
May 15 2017 4:00pm

Adventures in Research, Part I: Time of Departure

I’m sure every novelist has his or her personal formula for research. Recently, Criminal Element asked me to talk a little bit about mine.

Not to sound too obvious, but in my book (yes, there’s that boring pun again) there are three branches of research required if you want to get things right.

First comes the essential exercise of poring over non-fiction sources and searching the internet for alternative facts (just kidding). The point is, there are no shortcuts to basic research. Your readers expect you to know what you’re talking about. And dogged persistence is often rewarded with unexpected bonuses—such as discovering a little factual nugget that adds a new twist to the plot, or one that lends an extra brush-stroke of reality to the imaginary world of the story.

The next task is to track down and interview, where possible, professionals and experts who can give you a real sense of that job ... or that place ... or that lifestyle. For those of you who have read Time of Departure, you’ll know that the novel’s central character is Claire Talbot, a tough-as-they-come Florida prosecutor. I was most fortunate that one of my oldest friends is a former Treasury agent who later became a Florida state attorney and, later still, a Florida public defender.

[Read more about Douglas Schofield's adventures in research!]

Sun
Apr 16 2017 2:30pm

Why I Write Women

It never fails.

I’m wrapping up a talk at a book-signing event.

A hand waves in the back row.

A woman stands.

“You’re a man,” she declares.

I smile. I’ve been here before.

“Uh ... yeah ... last time I looked.”

“But you write women.”

[See why Douglas Schofield writes women!]

Tue
Nov 22 2016 11:00am
Excerpt

Storm Rising: New Excerpt

Douglas Schofield

Storm Rising by Douglas SchofieldStorm Rising by Douglas Schofield follows a widowed mother's attempt to clear her late husband's name and save herself and her son from much more than a deadly storm (Available November 29, 2016).

It’s been a rough five years for Lucy Hendricks.

She hasn’t had an easy time of it since her husband, Jack—a devoted and upstanding Bayonne, New Jersey, cop—was murdered while on an investigation. There were suspicions that he’d been involved with the local Mafia, and the media wouldn’t let it go, making life unbearable, so Lucy moved to Florida to raise her son, Kevin, who was born without ever knowing his father.

The distance was healing, but now Lucy is back in New Jersey to pick up the pieces in the same house she and Jack once shared, trying to move on. But the past won’t loosen its grip on the young widow, and it seems to have taken hold of Kevin as well. At first his behavior becomes increasingly erratic; then he begins making statements wise beyond his years, offering specific details about Jack’s murder he couldn’t possibly know. Lucy decides to delve into the mystery surrounding her husband’s death, for her own sanity and for Kevin’s. She can’t trust the cops, it seems, and now the local Don has reached out to her, offering help in clearing Jack’s name. As Hurricane Sandy bears down on Bayonne, Lucy must trust her instincts to save herself and her son from much more than a deadly storm.

1

It started on Christmas morning.

At least that was when Kevin threw his first tantrum.

Later, looking back, Lucy realized that she hadn’t been paying close enough attention.

There had been the nightmares. Too many to count. Thank God they had recently stopped.

And, there had been the boy’s silences. She would find him staring into space, his face frozen in concentration. Or was it deep longing? She couldn’t tell. But the very adultness—was that even the word for it?—of her little boy’s expression had at times unnerved her.

[Read the full excerpt from Storm Rising...]

Sat
Nov 28 2015 1:00pm
Excerpt

Time of Departure: New Excerpt

Douglas Schofield

Time of Departure by Douglas Schofield is an tortuous crime thriller with a strong female lead that mixes mystery, romance, and a bit of Sci-Fi (Available December 1, 2015).

Florida state prosecutor Claire Talbot is as tough as they come, and not everyone loves her for it. Newly promoted Felony Division Chief, Claire has about as many jealous detractors as she does supporters. Some colleagues are openly skeptical about her youth, her abilities, and even her gender. When a highway project construction crew unearths two skeletons in a common grave, Claire reopens an investigation into a string of abductions that took place before she was born. While researching the file, she meets retired cop Marc Hastings, who once worked on the case. He maneuvers his way into the investigation-and into Claire's life. Marc has an uncanny familiarity with Claire's habits, and she begins to realize that not all is as it seems. The detective urges Claire on, mysteriously convinced that only she can solve the case. Together, they unearth more graves. But then, disaster strikes ... and Claire finally discovers what Hastings knew all along. It's a secret almost too shocking for a sane mind to grasp. The key to the killings may lie deep in Claire's own past. But what if Claire's past lies in her future?

CLAIRE

1

My new corner office wasn’t much different from my last one—battleship gray walls, faux-wood furniture, patternless nylon carpet—but at least it was brighter. It had been empty for almost a month, yet I was still picking up whiffs of the previous owner’s cologne. It was one of those vintage brands—Bay Rum, maybe, or Bacchus. I couldn’t tell. My talents didn’t extend to discriminating between specific brands, just between out of date and up to date. All I knew was that I’d have to figure out a way to eliminate the lingering odor. I didn’t look forward to putting in fifteen-hour days under the olfactory pall of Roy Wells’s ghost.

Wells had been a reasonably competent prosecutor, but he’d never made me feel very welcome in the Florida Eighth Circuit State Attorney’s Office. Not just because I was another female interloper in what his right-wing mentality firmly believed should have remained a male preserve, but also because I’d been breathing down his professional neck ever since Sam Grayson had hired me. Sam had fifty prosecutors across six counties to choose from, but he’d made me Felony Division Chief two days after my thirty-first birthday. One notable result of that announcement was the thin-lipped silence I now endured whenever I passed a colleague in the hallway.

[Read more of Time of Departure here...]