One of the most enjoyable parts of writing a novel is the research--in the last week, as I work on Lizzy Ballard Book 2, I've spoken with the Search and Rescue Coordinator of the Coconino County (AZ) Sheriff’s Office; a subject matter expert at the Delaware Museum of Natural History; and a paramedic with 17 years of experience in emergency medical services (it just wouldn't be a thriller without the need for some emergency medical services). Next on the research tour: the hospital emergency department professionals who helped me with ROCK PAPER SCISSORS.
I've even tapped into the Facebook hive mind for ideas for Southeastern Pennsylvania-specific words and phrases, and common night-time gathering places for homeless people in Philadelphia.
The people I've asked for help have been unbelievably generous with their knowledge and their time, and I hope to be able to repay them with a storyline that relies for its thrills on the surprises and oddities of the real world.
What have I learned in my research?
Discontinuing use of steroids abruptly can cause mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, achy muscles, and depression.
Air ambulances are only used when the benefit of faster transportation to a hospital justifies the added cost and risk of the operation.
The Arizona Department of Heath Services Triage, Treatment and Transport Guidelines includes an instruction to assess patient for decapitation.
Jellyfish (or "jellies" as they are now called, as they are not fish) are venomous, puffer fish are poisonous, while the Asian tiger snake is both venomous and poisonous. So watch out for this guy ...