Research

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You’d think by now my husband would stop asking when something a little out of the ordinary appears in our search history.

I’m waist-deep in writing Book 4 of my paranormal mystery series, and there are more twists and turns in this plot than there are on the mountain road where the last half of the story is set. Some of those twists and turns–and even some of the more mundane parts of the plot–have required a bit of research.

Just for fun, I decided to list some of the things I have researched so far in writing this novel.

  1. Inheritance laws. Obviously, there is an inheritance involved in An Uneasy Inheritance. Since I’ve never been the executor of an estate, nor have I ever inherited an entire estate, I had to look up some of the in’s and out’s of the process.
  2. Renovo, PA. This will become Kyr’s new home in the second half of the book. I went to college in Lock Haven (Willow Lake in the books), which is about half an hour south of there. I may have visited the outskirts of Renovo once during that time, but I really didn’t know anything about its history, the mindset of its residents, or anything like that. Fortuitously, I discovered that a friend actually grew up there, so I have some personal testimony to add to my internet research.
  3. Funeral services. I’ve been to funerals. Many funerals. By and large, the majority of the services I’ve been to have been religious–specifically Christian–in nature. The memorial service Kyr has to plan is decidedly…not Christian. It’s kind of a mish-mash of spiritual, pagan, and a touch Native American, so I had to do a little digging to find a suitable template for a service. Of course, a moment of chaos kind of throws all the planning out the window…
  4. Cremation urns. Something else I’m a bit unfamiliar with. I knew that Celeste wouldn’t want the typical vase-shaped urn, but I wasn’t sure what else was out there. The ghosts in the above photo are actually cremation urns, and I also found one resembling Barack Obama (still trying to wrap my head around that one). It took some searching, but I did find one that suited Celeste’s unique personality and reverence for nature.
  5. Symbolism of crows. I keep seeing crows as I write this scene or that. One showed up in an old photo of Kyr’s great-aunt, and on the day of the memorial service, Kyr notices one sitting outside the funeral home, watching her. And the creepy neighbor lady Helen has a red-eyed crow carved on the top of her walking stick.  default-1464354436-173-crow-brains-reveal-secrets-of-their-intelligence
  6. Brocken spectre. This is a weather phenomenon I saw on the Weather Channel once, and I decided to research it further, thinking it might play into some of the spookiness of the property Kyr now owns. Basically, it’s a shadow cast on a fog bank, and it looks like a ghost or an angel. I haven’t decided where, how, or if this will even come into play, but it’s certainly an interesting motif.  Brocken spectre
  7. Cargo vans vs. moving vans. Even with moving the vast majority of her furniture into storage until a later date, there was no way Kyr would get all her belongings into her small car to take to her new house, and since she was moving three hours away, multiple trips were not an option. Because of the remote nature of her new digs, I wasn’t sure a moving van would be wise, or even feasible, but just how much can you fit into a cargo van?
  8. Disassembling a bed frame. I’ve never had to move a bed to another house, so I wasn’t sure if the actual bed frame came apart or not. I was fairly certain it did, but had no idea how far it disassembled, so off to Google I went. Luckily, there’s just enough disassembly and reassembly involved so that Kyr’s brother Luther could have an interesting experience in the attic.

I know there are other things I have researched over the past few months, but these are the ones I could recall off the top of my head. I’m sure I’ll be doing more research before this book is done, and I’m sure my husband will ask many more times, “Is there a reason you’ve bookmarked a page about _________?”

Whether you’re a writer or not, what is the strangest thing you’ve found yourself researching on the internet? Let me know in the comments!

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