Monday, March 7, 2016

This Writer Needs Peeps

 Just JoeP: I Heart Smart People

I am a writer who needs people. I would love more readers for this blog, for instance, but that's not the thrust of this post and besides, no need for whining, eh?

But I do need people and in this case, I mean people who are experts or at least very, very knowledgeable about a particular subject. I wind up doing research with every book I write, sometimes a little bit, sometimes quite a lot. In fact, I do research on any topic that interests me and sometimes that leads to the book itself (see Saving Jake and shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, or Dead Voices and cholera outbreaks in the US during the 19th century.) Nonetheless, no one can know everything, and while libraries and the Internet are both very nice, there is nothing like talking to a living, breathing expert.

And hopefully those experts will enjoy talking to writers. We can come up with questions that are real humdingers. I called up a random minister one time -got his name from a phone book- to ask him if a person who committed suicide could be buried in a church graveyard. Turns out the answer was yes, and I was glad to hear it. I asked my dentist about identifying bodies through dental records and once we got past the "Are-you-up-to-something-I-don't-want-to-know-about?" stage, we had a really interesting conversation. There is a lot that has to be in place to identify a body that way and one day I may use that information. I got a pharmacist I knew at one point to explain to me how a person could be poisoned and have no trace of that poison in his bloodstream. And I spoke to a nice lady at an adoption agency when I was trying to figure out Steve Crawford's early childhood experience (see Haunted.)

As it is, I am blessed with knowing people in all sorts of fields. My own background gives me access to medical expertise and some working knowledge of sign language interpreting and the Deaf community. I am surrounded by sword-and knife experts, back from when I was studying the same. And I have studied martial arts in the past, so I have that in a very accessible place as well. To make up for what I don't have in my own tool bag, I "collect" people.

So far I have collected a specialist in human anatomy and physiology, a retired federal deputy  marshal, a nice range of artists and computer experts - a few of them one and the same, a professional musician and producer, a film score composer, a movie screenplay writer and producer, a ghost hunter or two, a tarot card expert, and my own personal favorite engineer. 

That leaves a WHOLE BUNCH of areas whose experts I will need to locate when and if the need arises. To that end, if you are one of the handful of readers who actually read this blog on a regular basis, and you have an area or more of in-depth knowledge in anything I have NOT mentioned above, and you would like to find your name in my acknowledgments (if you look at the acknowledgments at the beginning of all my books, you will see what I mean), please email me through my web site ( or contact me via Facebook. I'd love to hear from you.

At the moment, I need someone who has a degree in history and is currently making a living in that area. Any takers?

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