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The Sirens of Suspense




The Red Storm is Grant Bywaters' first novel. It is the winner of the Minotaur Books/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Private Eye Novel Competition and is currently nominated for the 2016 Shamus Award for Best First Private Eye Novel. Bywaters has worked as a licensed private investigator and lives outside of Portland, Oregon.


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When it comes to having to do search, it seems like one of those hate it or love it kind of things for certain authors. I have even heard stories of some big name authors that have people do the required research for them.

For me, I have always enjoyed doing research. It is part of the reason why I got into private investigation work to begin with. It was a job that required you to constantly sift through information in order to extract the bits you needed. This of course was when much of the legal information that was needed was not yet available online, so you had to go through boxes of unorganized hardcopy files to find it.

Through the years, improved technology has only been an enabler for the research junkie. Now you can find almost any kind of information you need with a simple keystroke. I would imagine that if one were to look at an author’s search history, it would range from humorous to bizarre. I would like to think that the reason why “how to hide a dead body” is one of the most searched things on Google is because of research being done by writers.

Out of curiosity, I took a look at my own recent searches….

“Why does my cat sleep in a sink”---yes, waking up and seeing your cat sleeping in a sink makes you wonder what that is all about

“1930s New Orleans street maps”----research for the next book

“Dalmatians firehouse mascot”----I saw a lady walking one of those spotted pooches and it got me wondering how exactly that came about.

“Alvarez vs Golovkin,”----I wanted to know if the fight was going to happen this century.

“Did Marlon Brando not wear pants in The Score?”--- I saw the movie on Netflix and remembered hearing that he did the entire movie without wearing pants.

As you can see, you really can search and find anything these days. With so much information readily available, I found that moderation is the key when it comes to what to put into my writing. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of shoehorning stuff into a book to the point you bore the reader. Few readers want to be three plus chapters into a book and have no clear idea who the main characters are or the general story direction, but instead know all the working components of a Boeing 777 jet engine.

With that said, I still find that no amount of research is too much as long as you are not using it to simply procrastinate from your actual objective. Too often one can get sidetracked with research and instead of accomplishing your goal you are now an expert on say the history of Malaysian warfare.

But why is it so natural for many of us to get so invested in our research? I find that as people we have always had an inherit desire to seek out and look up information. Google may be our more recent tool, but before that it was encyclopedias, newspapers, almanacs, dictionaries and other research tools. There is a reason why trivia games like Jeopardy have stayed on the air for what seems like the beginning of television.


WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR RECENT SEARCHES? The weirder the better. TELL US or leave a comment on the blog below or on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a copy of THE RED STORM! (US entrants only, please.)




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