Cassy’s Debut Blog…..
About a week ago Liz and Kari asked me to join them blogging on Mysteries and Margaritas. I was absolutely delighted to be invited. Now with Mary part of the group, we have an amazingly talented (and very funny) consortium. We hope you will join us as often as you can, offering your own perspective.
As for me, I’m a former nurse (if there is anything such as that- just ask any nurse if she has ever stopped renewing her license) turned university professor and associate dean at a school of nursing. Now I write mysteries. I hold an MSN, MBA, and a PhD (health care research methodology). I have a wonderful husband of 28 years (!) who has an international practice, which translates to his living at 36,000 feet more days of the year than either of us like. When we realized he’d been to Malaysia more than 100 times, we decided it wasn’t healthy for us to count anymore. Our two daughters are wonderfully independent young women. One works in Washington, DC for a nonprofit and the other is in medical school.
So, enough of that. On with my thoughts for today’s blog.
Last week I totaled my car. I’m fine. The car isn’t. I was leaving the airport in Hartford, Connecticut at 9 am. It was drizzling and a bit gray, but really no big deal. Ten minutes into my drive home I needed to switch lanes to avoid a car. I immediately realized I had no steering, no brakes, and no ability to direct the car anywhere. I ended up rear-ending a car parked on the left shoulder and soaring (yes, airborne) over the left bank into a grassy ditch. The car landed nose down, an effective way to stop. Again, I am fine.
The situation is slightly more complicated—a third car rolled three times just before I careened. I landed to see the adjacent car, one that I had no idea even existed, crushed like a beer can. A sobbing woman sat crunched in the driver’s seat, crunched because the roof of the car was so caved in she couldn’t sit up. She said she was not hurt. Unbelievable. I then took a minute to make sure I could say the same.
Well, the state trooper arrived and voiced his surprise that I was absolutely fine. I did hide my shaking hands from his view. At his command, I was not allowed out of the car.
Here is where my point finally begins. You have been a patient reader, thank you. I was getting very cold. I was not allowed to turn my car on to use the heater. This is winter in Connecticut. Since I had just landed at the airport, I had luggage with me. Out came the fuzzy thick socks you can buy at Walmart, an extra scarf, and my gloves. Time passed very slowly.
You have picture, three state troopers with flashing lights on three cars, three flat bed tow trucks, two ambulances (just because they have to), and three totally injured vehicles. Not to mention all of the people who have to stop and offer help.
As I said, I was getting bored and was still very cold. The wait for my turn with the police dragged on. Oh my, my thoughts began to race. Oh my. I just had an accident. My car flew through the air. I’m cold and still shaking. THIS IS RESEARCH!
I rustled through my carry-on bag and found my notebook. I need to write this down, I thought. I pulled off my gloves and begin to furiously write. What did it feel like to be out of control? What did I think as I realized I was going to hit the other car and could do nothing about it? What did I think as I left firm ground? What did the impact do to my body when the car reached the bottom of the hill? What did I think seeing the other car crushed next to mine? What did I say to the woman crouched in her unrecognizable automobile? Why did I need to be chipper to the state trooper? And on and on.
Research. I certainly wouldn’t repeat the escapade for the sake of research, but it was presented to me and why not make the most of it? After all, I write mysteries. So, if you see a scene in one of my works that has a car flying off the side of Route 91 outside of Bradley International Airport, you’ll know the secrets behind the action.
Now, my question to you is: What research do you do for your stories? What research would you like to do, but is slightly outside of your comfort zone?
Let us know. We love to hear from you.