How not to research a mystery and a #giveaway with Krista Davis

Liz here, so happy to welcome our friend Krista Davis to the blog today! Krista has a hilarious take on the best way NOT to do research and I feel like she totally got in my head…Take it away, Krista!

I was wondering recently why it takes me so long to write a book. While I’m sure there are many reasons for that, I think I’m prone to being distracted by the research I do. I won’t mention all the curious headlines which pop up begging to be investigated. Important things like whether or not Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, wears pantyhose when the fashion trend is to go bare-legged. In case, like me, you simply must know, she wears Barely There Nonslip Tights from the department store which retail for about $6.50. I don’t know about you, but it makes me like her even more. She’s so sensible.

Yes, but back to the book and what originally threw me off. In The Diva Delivers on a Promise, I researched a number of things, as I do for every book. I needed to understand delivery kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens. They are a fascinating development. Much like a restaurant, they cook meals. But there is no dining room, and you cannot drive-through or pick up your food. They are delivery only. As you might imagine, this cuts down on expenses a lot. No servers for starters! No tables or chairs. And no high rent because they don’t have to be located in popular high traffic areas where the rent is steep.

But that led me to another question. Can you pay with a ghost credit card? Hah! It turns out that you can. Will this be the wave of the future? Maybe! With a ghost card, a bank gives you a one-use number. After it is used, it’s not valid anymore, making it a waste of time to steal the number. Pretty cool, huh? Kind of a hassle, though. But surely, it’s only a matter of time until some genius works out the kinks. Oh, wait. My favorite skin care company is having a sale. 20% off! 

What was I saying? Things I research. Are daffodils toxic? Answer below in the comments before you read on. Good golly! Valerie Bertinelli is 63! She looks great, though. And is now happily divorced after a toxic marriage. Good for you, Valerie!

The answer is yes! Like Valerie’s marriage, all parts of the daffodil are toxic, especially the bulb. So keep them away from dogs, cats, and babies. But wait! While they make you very, very sick and you should hurry to the hospital or the veterinarian if anyone eats one, daffodils probably won’t kill you. For most people that’s great news! But for someone writing a murder mystery where a victim needs to be poisoned, it’s kind of a letdown. Off to research other poisonous plants. 

Why would the BBC have an article titled How Do People Learn to Cook a Poisonous Plant Safely? Aha. Cultures evolve and people learn through trial and error (rather horrific and deadly error) how to prepare a plant that could kill them. Apparently, cassava root must be treated and cooked in a long list of steps before the cyanide in it is detoxified. Yikes! Do people know that? Now that has possibilities!

Readers, how do you do approach research? Share in the comments for a chance to win a copy of The Diva Delivers on a Promise!

97 Thoughts

  1. Hysterically funny, Krista. I can certainly relate. Loved the diversion to Valerie B. LOL ~ Daryl

  2. As a non-fiction writer, I get caught up in trying to get the facts straight and often find conflicting “facts” which leads me down two (or three) rabbit holes at once! I love your Pen & Ink series, but found the slick covers to be disappointingly impossible to color with colored pencils.

  3. As a 25 year veteran medical transcriptionist, so many words doctors say sound the same but mean something totally different. When I need to research I’m looking for cause and effect if it’s medicine, or what it’s used for. Could the medicine possibly treat the ailment listed. It’s such a struggle when two medicines sound the same, are used for the same thing and now it’s down to the dosage and you have no physical chart to compare. Blanks are unacceptable in medical documents and so are mistakes!! So how do we complete a chart correctly with no doctor to help us? It’s the true mystery!

    P.S. I would love to read your book on my break!

  4. Squirrel! I definitely get distracted doing research – and my career required lots of research. To keep from going down too many rabbit holes I would attempt to make a list of my questions that needed research and check them off as i went along. That didn’t always stop the squirrel thought or going down the rabbit hole, but it did help some!

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