March 12, 2021– We’ve got another great question today from a reader in Spain. They sent us an email asking a question that comes up a lot, here it is:
Q: “I’ve heard from a lot of people that you should write what you know. I really want to write a murder mystery set in my home country, but I haven’t any experience in law enforcement and wouldn’t know how to set up the scene. Should I abandon my goal and switch topics?”
A: This is a great question! Also, I would love to visit Spain one day and I hope to do so in the near future:) No, there’s no need to switch genres just because you have no experience with murder (LOL!). Thankfully, most people don’t. But, I commend your dedication to getting it right and your commitment to credibility. As we know, credibility matters not only to your story, but also to your readers. If someone is a detective or in law enforcement and they read your book, they’ll pick up on the inconsistencies and irregularities in your story; chances are that they won’t continue to read on. This goes for all professions by the way. So, if we’ve never processed a crime scene, how are we supposed to write about it? We bring in the experts. When I was writing my thriller Obsessed with Her (available here: Obsessed with Her Novel – Pandamonium Publishing House) I was fortunate enough to have the Head of Toronto Homicide consult me on the entire project. That means he was kind enough to explain how a scene is investigated, the protocol, the terminology, and the fine details so that I could get it right. I urge you to reach out to your local law enforcement or other professionals and tell them that you’re writing a book and that you could use some advice. Want to know something kind of cool and creepy at the the same time? I was advised that my book would be kept on file for reference should anyone commit a crime that was based in my book and that I would potentially be brought in for questioning should the need arise. WOW! Talk about epic and eerie all at once! I know of some authors (who shall not be named) that have had the opportunity to go on a ride along with some police officers in their city. So, you don’t know unless you ask! If your local law enforcement says no, or you don’t feel comfortable asking, you can research whatever you’re looking for in true crime books, true crime documentaries, and by watching police based shows such as Cops etc. Be sure to watch and read TRUE stories as sometimes the wording and processing on television is less than accurate. Best of Luck!