Researching THE PROPOSAL was fairly straightforward. I had to delve into breast cancer, the events that provoke changes in breast tissue, genetics, abortion, medical care and treatment. (In fact, I did so much research on breast cancer that I later wrote Gentle Touch/A Time to Mend using much of the same material, only updated.) I also had to research the Washington D.C. area, where Theo Russell lived, and fetal tissue research. I also unconvered some truly grisly research done with human fetuses–not for the faint of heart, I assure you.
I also had to learn how to write a thriller. Not knowing much back then about my now handy-dandy plot skeleton, I found a book that literally said, “Write one scene in your hero’s POV. Now write a scene in the antagonist’s POV.” It was follow the dots, but I was willing to follow them. (Later, I threw that book away.)
BTW, do you know the difference between a mystery and a thriller? It’s simple, but lots of people don’t think about it. In a mystery, the reader doesn’t know who the bad guy is. With the detective, the reader is supposed to assemble the clues and rejoice (ta da!) at the end when the hero puts the pieces together and reveals the criminal. The fun is in solving the puzzle.
In a thriller, you have scenes from the hero’s POV and the bad guy’s POV–and the reader watches them approach each other from two separate tracks. The reader knows that a confrontation between these two is coming, and at first, it looks like the bad guy holds all the cards. We watch and wait for the confrontation between good and evil.
So–I had to do medical research, location research, and basic “how to write” research. Enough to keep me busy for at least a week. 🙂
Tomorrow: The writing